Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rodentia and the Rest

Lesson 7 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day by Jeannie Fulbright is entitled, "Rodentia and the Rest."  It focuses on rodents, those animals that like to gnaw.  (The word "rodent" comes from the Latin "rodere," meaning "to gnaw.")
Lately, when I've been making posts about these animals we're studying in Zoology 3, I've been looking back through my blog for projects we've done in the past that could go along with these lessons.  I think this might be helpful for those of you with younger children.  (It's also nice for me to revisit!)  We have done plenty with mice in the past.  The next 8 pictures are from past posts (with links) in case you want to explore any of these in your own rodent studies.

We once did an excellent book study with our co-op on Antaole by Eve Titus, a French mouse known for his excellent senses and cheese-tasting skills.  (That post can be found at https://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2013/01/anatole.html.)
During that book study, we described Anatole on paper wedges of cheese, making a little flip book on a sentence strip.  You could do something similar in your study of rodents, listing facts about a particular species in the form of a flip book.
We also made Anatole bookmarks.  To make your own mouse bookmark for your Zoology 3 text, just click on the aforementioned link and omit the red scarf and beret!
In an earlier post (https://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2011/05/hickory-dickory-dock.html), we made a finger mouse out of our Giant Nursery Rhyme Sticker Activity book.  (The instructions are pictured in that post.) 
In an even earlier post that that, we did a book study on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.  (It can be found at https://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2010/10/two-days-in-one.html.)
 In that book study, we decided to put together the little mouse in this "pom-pom farm animal kit" by Martha Stewart's Create line.  (I think you can still purchase this on Amazon.)
We put our little mouse together, and while he dried, we baked some chocolate chip cookies!
Maybe these will be good ideas for your younger set as you explore the world of rodents.

So ... catching back up to the present ...

On Day 1 of this study, using the suggested syllabus on page 8 of the Junior Zoology 3 Notebooking Journal (PLEASE do yourself and your child(ren) a favor by purchasing this), we read some of the lesson in our text and colored the coloring pages in the journal (113-14).
We continued reading in our text on Day 2, and started the "Fascinating Facts" in the journal.
 I just love her little pictures!
We then started the "Creature Facts" on pages 116-117.
On Day 3, we continued our "Creature Facts" (pages 118-119), recording what we had been learning about all these interesting animals.
Her little shrew drawing reminds me of the silly YouTube video of the shrew, set to music from Phantom of the Opera at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc6pAuRiyVo, below.  This goofy gem has been floating around Facebook for a couple of months.  Maggie loves it.
 Can you believe we actually had an echidna sticker?!
We also finished reading the lesson in our text and completed the "Map It!" activity ...
... as well as the "Track It!" activity, drawing rodent tracks on the pages of our journal.
For a fun end to Day 3, we read The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, a classic story full of rodents!
Then, using this Wind in the Willows: Stickers book we had from Dover, I challenged her to use the stickers to put together a storyboard like we did in a previous lesson (Lesson 4, "Feliforms," page 59 in the notebooking journal).
All done!
We adhered it to our journal, opposite her Scripture copywork.
On Day 4, we started by completing her "Creature Facts" (pages 120-121), including the creature she created, as outlined on page 130 of the text.
 Her creation was the "quillback," with rabbit-like ears and a long tail.
After that, we watched a couple of fun episodes of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!  The first was the "A Sticky Situation" episode (about beavers) from the Tales About Tails DVD.  
It can also be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSZ00z72o-g, below.
The second video we watched was from the Thumps and Jumps! DVD, called "Thump," about rabbits.
It is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa4pKmHMe2M, below.
On Day 5, we continued working in the journal.
We also read more about beavers' dams in Animals Build Amazing Homes by Hedda Nussbaum.
Next, we watched the full "Leave it to Beavers" documentary on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c, below.
I found a great idea for constructing your own beaver's lodge on paper at http://teachermomplus3.blogspot.com/2016/08/beavers-lodge-craft.html.  (The image below belongs to that site.)
We set out to make our own lodge on paper.
It turned out great!
After our paper lodge, we decided to make a lodge snack using the familiar chocolate-and-chow-mein-noodles recipe for "birds' nests," simply flipped upside down.  I used the simple recipe at https://amomsimpression.com/bird-nest-cookies-perfect-for-easter-or-an-outdoor-garden-party/.
To make our lodge, we pressed our mixture into a large bowl, lined with wax paper, then pressed a smaller bowl into the top.  Everything then went into the refrigerator to harden.
Once peeled away from the bowl, we had a perfect lodge shape!  We even found a picture of a beaver online, cut it out, and placed it against the lodge with a small dollop of peanut butter!
So cute ... and tasty!
Another fun activity you might want to try for younger children (Maggie is too old to enjoy it) is the "Beaver City" game through "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!" option on pbskids.org (at http://pbskids.org/catinthehat/games/welcome-to-beaver-city).  There are three game options which practice measurement as children help the beavers build their lodges.  It looks like a lot of fun for the younger set, a good activity for when you need to have uninterrupted time with an older sibling.
For a fun field trip for our study of rodents, we decided to visit Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta (https://bhnp.org/), which has resident beavers and dams to observe.  (The following three pictures are from their Facebook page.)
With these freezing temperatures as of late, we have yet to make it out there.  We will update this post when we do!

For our last activity for this lesson, following the suggestion of the text (page 130), we decided to dissect an owl pellet.  We purchased this Owl Puke kit through Scholastic Book Clubs, which has a real, sterilized pellet with a complete rodent skeleton inside.  She was very excited to get started!
Right away after she peeled the foil from our pellet, we could see skeletal remains!
With a little care in removing some of the fur, we spotted those long, sharp incisors!  Whoa!  This was definitely a rodent!
Carefully, we removed and separated each bone, using the kit's awesome guidebook.
Just look at that skull and lower jawbone (right)!
Here, you can see the other teeth in the lower jaw!
This was fascinating!
In conclusion, we were sure we had a mouse!  Don't miss this activity in your own rodents study.  We had a blast!
After our dissection, we recorded what we had learned on page 128 of our journal.

Lastly for this lesson, we completed the review questions that I had purchased at the start of this course from CurrClick (at http://www.currclick.com/product/104898/Apologia-Exploring-Creation-with-Zoology-3-Land-Animals-of-the-Sixth-DayWorksheets-Tests).  These are great for wrapping up all that we learn in one review.  These, too, get added to our journal.
We will be posting on "Ungulates" (Lesson 8) next!  Check back with us!


  1. I love that you include ideas for the younger set. That is so helpful. My oldest is a first grader and will start apologia in 3rd and I will have ideas to include my young ones too!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Elizabeth! I just started doing this, so I think I will continue!

  2. I have a question for you if you don't mind. Do you feel Apologia's Exploring Creation series is enough for the elementary ages? I haven't taken a very close look at it besides what you blog about. It looks pretty thorough, but I was curious if you do anything else for science or is this curriculum enough?


    1. Hey, Elizabeth! I honestly believe that Apologia's Exploring Creation series IS enough. The only thing I would add is a little bit of Earth Science, like studying the weather and Geology. That is why I taught a Geology co-op last year with some friends. If you can cover a little Earth Science on the side, you will be very well-rounded with Jeannie Fulbright's set of books. Hope that helps!

    2. P.S. Here is the link to my Geology posts. I wouldn't recommend it too early, though. Some of these concepts are hard to grasp. I would cover weather first.


  3. Yes, I was thinking of adding earth science along the way. Thanks for your reply!

  4. Ok, I've got 1 more question for you!! For K-2, did you you use any other curriculum for science and social studies other than what you have shown us you did for FIAR? I'm planning for a 2nd grader next year and I'm just not sure what we want to do. I have the core subjects curriculum nailed down. Sigh. Thanks for taking time to respond!!

    1. No, I didn't. I expanded on FIAR, sometimes doing unit studies on things I thought were especially interesting for her and then started Apologia and Mystery of History towards the end of second grade into third. I honestly think there is real benefit in not starting some things too soon. They retain it better, for one, but if you start with too grueling a schedule, they might not be as joyful about learning as you would want. I hope this helps! Every child is different, of course, but this is what I found was best for us!

  5. Thanks a lot for your reply! Sorry I'm always asking questions, but I truly value your opinion. You are an amazing homeschool mom!

    1. You are so welcome! Please don't apologize! Trust me ... it is nice to know that people actually look at the blog. There are days when I want to quit it because it tacks on more hours of work for me, but then kind people like you chime in and I remember why I do it. Thank YOU, Elizabeth!

    2. Awww thanks! Please don't give up. You inspire me so much AND you and Maggie will look back on this some day with such fond memories. So special!