Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Caniforms Continued

I wasn't quite so sure we could have as much fun with any subsequent lessons in our Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day text as we did with Lesson 2, but I was wrong.  Lesson 3 ("Caniforms Continued") was a blast!
We started the lesson by reading pages 31-35, learning about bears in general (family Ursidae).  We learned that they are plantigrades (meaning they walk on the entire bottom of their feet, unlike dogs and cats who walk on their toes), are mostly vegetarians, and have an excellent sense of smell.  We read about their size, their behavior, and the fact that they don't actually hibernate but experience dormancy instead.  We also read about how we should behave around bears and how we should never feed them.

The "Try This!" activity on page 35 challenges you to practice what you would do if you saw different bears (black versus brown) in the wild.  We took turns doing this, using the bear mask from our Wild Animals 3-D masks activity book from Born Free.
We then colored pages 39-40 in our junior notebooking journal.
On Day 2 of this lesson, we read more from our book, about the many different kinds of bears in the world: brown bears, the American black bear, polar bears, sun bears, and giant pandas, among others (pages 36-41).

We then completed the "Fascinating Facts" on page 41 of the journal, pictured below.
I adore kids' drawings!
After her notebook work, we completed the "Try This!" activity on page 41 of the text, challenging her to wrap her hands so that her opposable thumbs were no longer usable, like a bear's paws.  (Pandas have an extended wrist bone to allow them to better grip bamboo, but it's not a true thumb.)  Maggie thought this challenge was so fun.  She had to use a cup, carry books, and open doors without thumbs.  Later, she recorded this activity on page 54 of her journal (pic farther down in this post).   
We continued reading in the text (pages 41-44) about another family of caniforms, family Mustelidae, the weasel family.  ("Mustela" is Latin for "weasel.")  The mustelids include minks, badgers, otters, ferrets, and more.  We learned about the badgers' extensive burrows (called a sett), the mustelids' scent glands, and the shape of these critters' bodies.  We learned that a group of otters is called a romp, their homes are called holts, and there are many different species of otters (like the sea otter, the northern river otter, and the giant otter, for example).  We also learned that otters use tools, have retractable claws, and groom themselves for staying warm and dry in water, among other interesting otter behaviors.

On Day 3, we finished reading Lesson 3 (pages 44-49), about families Mephitidae (the skunks) and Procyonidae (the raccoons).  We then completed pages 42-43 of our journal, writing about the different families we had learned about and illustrating a comic strip about what we should do if we were to come in contact with a bear (below).
So cute!
Her illustrations crack me up!
That day at lunch, she watched the Bears: Spy in the Woods documentary from BBC Earth on Netflix, which takes a close-up look at polar bears, grizzlies, pandas, and other bear species.
On Day 4 of Lesson 3, we read the "Track It!" section on page 49 of our text.  Afterwards, Maggie drew some of these same tracks in her journal.
We then completed the "Map It!" activity for this lesson, mapping all the caniforms we studied in Lesson 3 on our world map.  (These images are provided in the back of the journal.)
For a colorful addition to our journal, Maggie completed the sticker scene of the red panda out of this Paint by Sticker: Zoo Animals sticker art book for kids.
Looks great, Mags!
This was added to the page in her journal opposite the cursive copywork.
It was time for an experiment!  We used the suggested experiment in this lesson ("Which Color Gets Hotter?" on page 50) to better understand how the black skin of a polar bear (It's true!) helps it to trap heat from the sun (versus if it had skin of a lighter color).  To do this, we used a white trash bag and a dark trash bag (we had dark silver, not black, unfortunately), two thermometers, and some things to hold the bags in place (my ceramic jack-o-lanterns and some pebbles).  We laid each back outside, side-by-side in the sun, holding them in place with the aforementioned weights.  We then put one thermometer on each bag.
After about thirty minutes of soaking up some sun, we went to check on the temperature of our bags.  The white one read at just 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
But the dark bag read at 114 degrees!  Wow!  We were amazed!
Darker colors absorb more heat from the sun.  Therefore, the black skin of a polar bear helps it to stay warmer in the frigid northern temperatures it lives in.  Neat!  Maggie recorded this on her Scientific Speculation Sheet on page 55 of the journal (below).
On Day 5, we read a lot more about these animals from Lesson 3 in our Zoobooks and Ranger Rick publications.  We read the ZoobooksBears issue from February 2017 ...
... (Check out this picture from the same, showing the plantigrade foot of a bear versus the digitigrade foot of a dog!) ...
... the Zoobooks' Sea Otters issue from January 2016 ...
... (I love this illustration showing the guard hairs of the otters' fur!) ...
... the Zoobooks' Pandas issue from November 2013 ...
... the "Floating Through Life" article from Ranger Rick, February 2015, about sea otters ...
... (These images of the same article are available online if you want to read it yourself.) ...
... the "Red Panda" article from Ranger Rick, August 2016 ...
... the "Polar Bears: A Life on Ice" article from Ranger Rick, December/January 2016 (also available online) ...
... the "Spirit Bears" article from Ranger Rick, September 2014 ...
... and the "Panda Quakes" article from Ranger Rick, March 2016.  This is a lot of reading, I know, but we love looking at the colorful, glossy photos from our animal magazines!
We then spent some time watching the live polar bear cam at San Diego Zoo at http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/cams/polar-cam, at the suggestion of the course website (see page vii of your text).  

I wanted to share two pictures from last week's field trip at Seacrest Wolf Preserve (mentioned in my post from Lesson 2 at https://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2017/09/carnivorous-mammals.html) that got us ready for this lesson.  In this first one, Maggie is cuddling a skunk (family Mephitidae) named Flower.
In this second one, we enjoyed some raccoons (family Procyonidae) up close.
But this week's field trip for Lesson 3 also had its own adventures!  I planned a trip to the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum in Montgomery, Alabama (http://www.montgomeryzoo.com/).  Here, we would see a sloth bear, American black bears, and displays at the museum of polar bears, grizzly bears, badgers, raccoons, skunks, and more!  To prepare, I made this "Zoo Scavenger Hunt" sheet for Maggie of things/animals already mentioned in this course through Lesson 3.  (Click on the image itself to see it larger.)
Scavenger hunt sheet in hand, she was ready for the challenge!  Here was her first find, the sloth bear!
It was interesting to watch this guy scrape out the avocado's flesh with his claws, as he has no opposable thumbs to help him hold it and scoop, like we do.
As much as I love seeing live animals way more than stuffed ones, I have to say that the Mann Museum is cool, especially for Lesson 3!  The man who started it, George P. Mann, an awarded naturalist and conservationist (you can read about him at http://www.montgomeryzoo.com/mann.html), has said that the bear family of all of the animals is his favorite.  It is evident in the many displays devoted to family Ursidae in the museum.  If you are not too far away, add this museum to your planning for Lesson 3!  Here are some of our pictures from our visit.

Here is Maggie, in front of an American black bear.
There are even tables to touch and feel the actual furs of the animals displayed.  It was so interesting to feel how different each is!
The polar bear's fur was, by far, the most fascinating!  True to what the text said, we could see those coarse, air-filled hairs on the black skin of this pelt.
Here is Mags, under a territorial grizzly!
The displays were so neat!
This one might be my favorite!  Just look at the size of this polar bear!
This guy reminds me of the Coca-Cola bear!
We also spotted raccoons on display ...
... skunks ...
... and badgers!
In this last picture, Mags is feeling the pelt of a river otter.
After our field trip, Mags completed a "My Zoology Field Trip" form (also found at the back of the journal), which we attached to our other zoo materials ...
 ... and added to our journal, opposite the minibook.
One of the last activities we did for Lesson 3 was actually Maggie's idea!  She is crazy for Mad Libs, especially when Daddy is the one calling out words for her to fill in.  So she came up with the bright idea of creating a mad lib about bears!  I was so tickled!  Together, we made this on the computer, sitting side-by-side with the text in hand, to use on Daddy later.  (Feel free to copy.  You can click on the image itself to see it larger.)  It was perfect!  Maggie's favorite sentence from Daddy's words when it was all over was, "As the saying goes, 'A shiny bear is a hairless bear.'"  Right??  (We had so much with this!)   😅
We added it to her journal.
To wrap up the lesson nicely, we completed the review questions from CurrClick (at http://www.currclick.com/product/104898/Apologia-Exploring-Creation-with-Zoology-3-Land-Animals-of-the-Sixth-DayWorksheets-Tests?filters=0_30516_0_0_0_0_0_0_0&manufacturers_id=586).  These have been great in summarizing important points from each of these lessons.
We've had so much fun with caniforms this week!
Up next?  Lesson 4 will teach us all about "Feliform Carnivores."  Can't wait!

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