Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Lesson 5 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day is all about "Marsupials," that is, mammals that use a marsupium (vocabulary words are in bold) where their joeys develop and are protected.  (This is different from the way placental mammals grow.)  There are hundreds of species of marsupials, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats, and possums.  This post outlines our study of this lesson.
To start our study, we learned from the text about Pangaea, trying to understand how many of the world's marsupials are only in certain parts of the world, like Australia.  Fulbright (the author) gave three great possibilities for when and how Pangaea split apart into the continents we know now (page 72), but there was one viewpoint not mentioned that I thought could make sense, too.  

Genesis 10:25 says, "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan" (KJV).

Genesis 11:8a says, "So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth ..." (KJV).

At some point in history, around the time of the Tower of Babel, people were "scattered" and the earth was "divided."  Before that, we all spoke one language and had access to each other because of this single land mass.  But because of our sin at the tower, God separated us by language and geography.  This, too, could explain the breakup of Pangaea.
After reading about Pangaea, we colored pages 70-71 in our notebooking journal ...
... and then completed the Pangaea activity outlined on page 73 of the text (also on pages 73-75 of our journal).
We continued reading in our text about how marsupials are classified (order Marsupialia, order Diprotodontia, suborder Macropodiformes, etc.).  We learned how kangaroos are macropods (meaning "big foot"), and how they hop to get to places faster and to conserve energy.  We tried hopping, too.  To keep our feet together, we used one of Maggie's hairbands around our ankles.
 Hopping isn't easy!  It takes a lot of effort for us!
On Day 2 of this study, we continued looking at kangaroos.  We started the day with a reading of Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne.  It's a cute story about a mother kangaroo with no marsupium, and how she finds a solution to her problem.  (Of course we know that her joey would never have properly developed without this important physical feature, but it's just a story.)
After the story, we read more in our text about kangaroos (the female is called a doe, the male, a buck, and a group, a mob) and wallabies.  We read about bettongs, potoroos, koalas, and wombats.  We then learned about suborder Phalangiformes (possums and opossums) and order Peramelemorphia (bandicoots and bilbies).

Meanwhile, we continued to journal.
We stopped our reading for a bit to watch a fun video, the "Babies" episode of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, which features a koala and how she carries her young.  You can see the same on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQja9bJoSVE (below).
Then we went on to read about Order Notorycetemorphia (marsupial moles), Order Dasyuromorphia (of which Tasmanian devils and the extinct Tasmanian tigers are classified into), and Orders Microbiotheria and Didelphimorphia (of which Virginia opossums are classified into).  It was a lot of fun learning about so many marsupials!

On Day 3 of this study, we started with reading Zoobooks' Kangaroos issue (from 2015), cover to cover.  (We just love these to supplement our reading.  The photos and illustrations are amazing.)
We also read the "Postcards from Australia" article out of this November 2015 issue of Ranger Rick magazine, about marsupials.
We then mapped our marsupials on our world map.  (The small pictures for this activity can be found in the back of the notebooking journal.)
Our map is filling up!
Mags then drew some opossum tracks in her journal ...
... before completing the Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Virginia opossums and Australian possums on page 76 ...
... and writing some facts about the many marsupials we were learning about on pages 77-79.
To end Day 3's work, we completed the koala sticker scene from this Paint by Sticker: Kids: Zoo Animals sticker book.
 (She loves these!)  We added it to our journal and called it a day.
On Day 4 of this study, we watched a short clip of a kangaroo joey making its journey to the marsupium from the Life of Mammals documentary by BBC on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lCKc8tURtc (below).  (It is so sweet!)
Afterwards, I had Maggie fill out a "Video Review" sheet (made on my computer) for this video, which we then attached in her journal.
We then completed the "Marsupials Hangers" activity on pages 83-88 of the journal, which challenged us to group our marsupials geographically.
In the text, there is a project on pages 87-88 that challenges you to capture some animal tracks (hopefully, Virginia opossum tracks) in a cement tray which you prepare.  HOWEVER, if you look on the course website (https://www.apologia.com/bookextrasonline/) as instructed on page vii of your text, you will see that the instructions for this project were changed to protect wildlife.  They no longer recommend using cement, but clay instead.  So, we set out to make our own clay tray, with a yummy snack in the center, to entice a critter to step on our setup.  

From past experience, we have learned that Virginia opossums like cheese.  

In Zoology 1, we completed the "Can Trap Experiment" from Lesson 10 (at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2015/07/apologia-zoology-1-lesson-10.html), from which we tried to determine whether insects preferred protein-rich foods or fruit.  (The following 10 photos are from that post.)

Here is Mags, holding the protein bundle, a ham and cheese combo wrapped in cheesecloth.  (She was so little, with that funny, big tooth!)
We placed our experiment (our protein can and our fruit can) in the woods behind our house ...
 ... and covered it with a small board which we labeled for our reference the next day.
 We then loosely covered the board with earth and pine straw.
The next day, we noted our experiment had been tampered with.  (This was not done by an insect!)
 Our protein bundle was completely gone!
 And the can that held our protein bundle had holes in it from sharp teeth!  Looking at the holes, we decided it was probably a Virginia opossum that was the culprit!
However, our fruit can was full of happy snails!

So ... remembering that experiment ... we decided cheese would be a great snack for this experiment!
 We didn't have enough clay of one color to cover the bottom of our tray, so we made a multi-colored bottom.  With our snack firmly planted in the cup in our clay, we headed outdoors to find a spot in the woods to place our setup.
 Ok, marsupials!  Come and get it!
 The next morning, the snack was gone!
 But were there any prints?  No!  We decided whatever got our snack was taller than a Virginia opossum, able to stick it's head into the cup without stepping into our clay tray.  We guessed maybe a deer, as we have a lot of those what frequent our backyard.
Oh well!  We tried!  At least something enjoyed our tasty treat!
We recorded this all in our journal.
Later, we printed the free kangaroo "paper toy"at http://www.thetoymaker.com/AroundtheWorld/Australia/TMaustralia.html and put it together.
Maggie loved how the little joey sat in its mother's pouch.
To wrap up this lesson, we completed the review questions for it from CurrClick and added the review sheets to our journal.
Later that week, we saw some lazy marsupials (these three kangaroos) at Zoo Atlanta.
 They were completely uninterested in us!
Our next Zoology 3 post (which I hope to post tomorrow) is on Lesson 6, "Primarily Primates."  We had a lot of fun with it, too!  Check back with us!


  1. AWWW it's so good to see you post when you can! The verse concerning pangea was fascinating. I always take the Christian side of all things science, but I don't always have the proof to back it up. I don't need it or need to prove it to anyone, I just believe kwim? I always just figured pangea was weird made up science-y stuff. I never connected it with the tower of babel.

    Your opossum expeeiment looked fun. You all need one of those wildlife cameras to mount outside when you do something like this! Fun!!

    Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Keep up the great work. You are such an inspiration to me as always!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! They are always uplifting for me! I love your idea for the wildlife camera! Maggie would love it! Merry Christmas to you, too! Much love!