Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Orders Squamata and Rhynchocephalia

I can't believe we are nearing the end of our Zoology 3 science course already!  We only have a little over four weeks left of study.  But I think this lesson, Lesson 10 ("Orders Squamata and Rhynchocephalia"), featuring snakes and lizards, was Maggie's favorite to date.
Before I get into the work we put into this lesson, let me share with you some past activities we have done to better understand these fascinating creatures.  (I have shared the links, too, so if any of these projects interest you, you can simply click on the link and be taken directly to that post.)

Twice, we have made ribbon snakes from the instructions on Martha Stewart's website.  The first time we made them, we were studying the sneaky snake in the Garden of Eden (that post can be found at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2017/09/india.html) ...
... and the second time we made them, we were studying the cobras of India.  (That post, along with other materials we used in our study of cobras can be found at https://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2017/09/india.html.)  Both of these snakes were sturdy and lasted a long time.  She was very proud of this project, both times.  😉  I encourage you to make your own ribbon snake!  The snake patterns you could make are endless depending on what ribbon you buy!
We also made a "Sneaky Snake Craft" when I taught The Fall to her Sunday School class, using a spiral snake cut out of cardstock, and bubble wrap, lightly painted before being pressed down onto the cardstock.  (This idea is floating around Pinterest if you need further instructions.)  In honor of the study, I had also served these apple cupcakes with a "sneaky snake" (gummy worm) emerging from the "fruit".  You can find this post at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2016/09/sunday-school-snacks.html.
During one of our Five in a Row (FIAR) book studies, we made a "Snake Egg" after submerging a whole egg into vinegar overnight.  This was so neat!  (That post is at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2013/11/when-i-was-young-in-mountains.html.)
I highly recommend doing this for fun.
Another time, we made a little 3-D paper snake, using a template we found.  This would be great for younger siblings!  This post is at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2012/09/sneaky-snake-and-crayon-earth.html.
At that same post (above), we also made a spiral snake out of paper, with Genesis 3:1 written across its back.
She drew in a face and our snake was complete!
The last "old" snake project I want to share with you is this simple paper chain snake we made at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2010/10/web-of-life.html.  (She was so young when we did this!)  You could always write a snake fact on each link of the chain, too, to help your children retain what they learned!
For a fun lizard project, you could simulate our "Chameleon Camouflage" project that we did with this course (Lesson 1) at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2017/09/introduction-to-animals-of-day-six.html.  This is in the front of our Zoology 3 journal.

Now, on to the new stuff!

Day 1

We started Lesson 10 by reading Miles and Miles of Reptiles: All About Reptiles by Tish Rabe ...
... and the "Reptile Life" section (pages 34-35) of our Usborne First Encyclopedia of Animals.
From there, we read out of our text about Class Reptilia, the four different orders of that class (Squamata, Testudines, Crocodilia, and Rhynchocephalia), and the snakes that are found in class Squamata.  After our initial reading, Maggie colored the coloring pages for this lesson in her notebooking journal.
While she colored, she watched two videos on ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals.  The first was the "Cold Feet" episode of The Magic School Bus (which can be found at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5vitxg).
The second video we watched was the "Be Cool" episode of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74byyGLAzh8, below.
After her pages were colored and our viewing was done, we read more in the text, as well as this neat book, Verdi by Janell Cannon, about green tree pythons.
Next, we completed the snake picture out of this Paint by Sticker: Kids: Zoo Animals sticker book.  Once done, it got added to our journal.
She loves these!
Then we read a few poems about snakes by Shel Silverstein -- "Snake Problem" ...
... "Boa Constrictor" ...
 ... and "Every Lunchtime."  (Click on the image itself to see it larger.)
We watched the "No SSSweater is Better" episode of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FezbuMTvkJg, below.  In it, we learned that as a snake grows too big for its skin, it must shed (molt) to reveal a newer, sleeker coat of skin.
We thought it would be fun to see what it would look and feel like to molt like a snake.  Using the idea floating around Pinterest, we used white school glue to coat our arms.
It took a while to dry.  Luckily, Grandma was with us and not only had the great idea of using the hair dryer to speed things along ...
... but allowed herself to be a test subject!
Time to molt!
Like a snake, Grandma left her "skin" behind!
After that, we put together this little activity book by Dover, Learning About Snakes.  Once completed, we added the book right to our journal with a stapler.

Day 2

While Grandma was still with us, we wanted to take her on one of our Zoology 3 field trips.  For this lesson, we chose the Flint Riverquarium in Albany, Georgia, which features over 18 different species of reptiles.  (Their website is at http://www.flintriverquarium.com/index.php.)
In preparation of our trip, I put together this little scavenger hunt worksheet.  (You can click on the image itself to see it larger.)
Coupled with this Dover Reptiles Stickers book, she would be able to complete her worksheet after our journey through the Riverquarium.
We have enjoyed this little place for years!
One of the first reptiles we encountered, one not listed on the Riverquarium's site, was this rough green snake.  He was Maggie's favorite reptile to observe.  He was incredibly long and yet pencil-thin.
The Riverquarium has many, many turtles and tortoises, which would make it a great destination for Lesson 11.
This alligator snapping turtle (below) still hadn't woken up to start the day!
What a neat place!
We spotted an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, too.
Maggie loves this place!
Can you spot the reptile in this picture?
Of course, we had to pose next to this large mural of an alligator!
Once our tour was over, we headed outside to enjoy the scenery along the Flint River ...
... when Grandma spotted another, rather large turtle, soaking up some sun!  Can you spot it?
It was a fun day!  We finished up our scavenger hunt sheet (under the Riverquarium brochure to the left in the picture) and attached it into our journal, opposite the cursive copywork page.

Day 3

We started Day 3 reading about lizards, geckos, skinks, worm lizards, tuataras, and more in our text, followed by Now You See Me ... by Tish Rabe, about a gecko's ability to camouflage itself.
Next, we watched the "Tale of a Dragon" episode of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TyDofzNqQE, below.  It's about lizards and their interesting body parts.

From there, we completed the "Fascinating Facts" in our notebooking journal ...
 ... as well as the "Map It!" activity ...
... and the "Track It!" activity.  (We draw all of our critter tracks on an available space in our journal.)

Day 4

On Day 4, we completed the Venn diagram in the journal, comparing and contrasting snakes and lizards, as well as the "Special Snake Abilities" and the lizards information page, opposite.
We also completed the "Squamate ID."

Day 5

On Day 5 of this study, we completed the two minibooks for Lesson 10, containing facts about snakes and lizards ..
... as well as the "Venomous Snakes in My Area" section in the journal, identifying six venomous snake species that we could encounter in our state.
For our extra project, I wanted Maggie to better understand the impact we have on our environment when we meddle with God's plan.  The Exotic Invaders: Pythons in the Everglades documentary on Netflix was perfect for this.  This documentary shows us how damaging it was to the ecosystem when Burmese pythons, a snake not native to the Everglades, was introduced.  Now, scientists and environmentalists are struggling to reverse the damage and restore the natural environment to what it was pre-python.
This image is from that documentary, showing a caught Burmese python, with very large prey in its digestive tract.
Having so many things to prey on, these snakes become humongous.
 They even eat alligators!
Mags wrote about the documentary on her project page in the notebook ...
... and we wrapped up the lesson by answering the review questions we downloaded through CurrClick.
Maggie is already pondering whether she would enjoy being a herpetologist!  We have more herps to cover in our next lesson, Lesson 11, "The Rest of the Reptiles ... and Amphibians."  
We start it tomorrow.  Check back with us!


  1. Hello Rachel, thank you for all your sharing, I still love what you do! Can you tell me how do you make photo montages with the text #homeschool? I would like to do the same for my son's notebook! Thank you very much! Looking forward to reading you, Carine

    1. Hi, Carine! I am so sorry I did not see your message before now. Usually, I get an email notification when someone replies but I did not with your message. I apologize for the delay.

      Thank you for your kind words. I love the photo montages, too! I use them on Instagram a lot. I use the website www.canva.com to make them. They have plenty of free clipart, but some is also a cost, so be careful what you use. It takes some time, but after playing on there for a while, you'll get the hang of it! LOVE that site! Best wishes!

  2. Hi, I love reading all that you do with your daughter. I feel overwhelmed by all the choices of curriculum available and for the past 2 years have sort of developed my own (which can also be overwhelming). I'm just wondering how you decide what you do each year and how you pull it all together. I'd love some help! Thanks!

    1. Good morning, Marina! I understand your feelings. We have ALL been there. If someone tells you they haven't, they aren't being truthful! LOL!

      Thank you for your kind words. It is a labor of love and even though it's a lot of work, I am always glad I put in the effort.

      Deciding my curriculum has been a process. How old is/are your child/children? When Maggie was very young (I'd say through first grade), I developed my own curriculum too, but eventually, I had to adopt some. I will tell you ... it's way easier to supplement ready-made curriculum than it is to do it all! My very first suggestion/recommendation if you have young children is to start with the Five in a Row (FIAR) series. It uses real books and goes through five subjects to dive into each (Social Studies/History, Language Arts, Art, Math, and Science). It is a blast and we are still using it today! She LOVES it and we have great memories from this series. For very young children, this curriculum is enough, but I would still supplement the math because FIAR math is lacking. Then, from there, I added on. Now, our FIAR studies supplement our regular subjects! For example, we are studying colonial times now, and I chose a FIAR book from Volume 4 about Benjamin Franklin to supplement our learning.

      For math, I use Singapore, but I don't think we would choose it again. It is hard to switch once you are this deep, so we are sticking with it, but Maggie is not a fan of this subject, so I wish I had chosen something more enjoyable for her, like Math-U-See. When she was very little, though (Pre-K and K), I just used manipulatives and cheap workbooks from Dollar Tree. No need to spend a lot when they are so young.

      Science, hands down, had to be this Apologia series by Jeannie Fulbright! It is AMAZING, glorifies God, and has made my daughter LOVE this subject! PLEASE choose this one! The only thing I have had to supplement this curriculum with is some earth science (like weather and geology) because they don't yet have an elementary text that covers that. BUT there is plenty of coverage of those with FIAR!

      For language arts, it took me a long time (YEARS) to find what worked for us. I struggled with this one. I eventually settled on Abeka and we use it for language/grammar and spelling. It is thorough and she has learned well with it. This is our last year of spelling, though. We will be switching to a vocabulary program after this.

      For history, we have used The Mystery of HIStory (HIS is in all caps for a reason, because it shows how the world has been shaped with the Word). We love it, but it can be too much for younger kids. Again, this is where FIAR is so great. I love adding Unit Studies for history, too! They are very fun for younger children.

      For handwriting and cursive, we have used Handwriting Without Tears and love it.

      Our Bible curriculum has been a number of resources that we enjoy. We mix it up a lot but make sure to cover it daily, and always first (He gets our firstfruits)!

      Besides those, we always read very good literature, the classics and very old novels that glorify God through Lamplighter ministries. We also read fun things like Roald Dahl, which we started when she was in about second grade. She still takes these to bed at night for her own reading!

      I'm trying to think if I have left anything out. Please ask any more questions I may not have covered in this mini novel. LOL! I am happy to help!


    2. Marina, I just realized I hadn't answered your question on how I put it all together. At the start of each year, I take each text I chose for that year, and divide it by the number of weeks we will be working (usually 43+ weeks). I then divide THAT into the days we work a week (4 or 5 days, depending on Daddy's work schedule). That tells me what we will work on each day. Then I just type it all out. Many people like to buy the planners, but it is quicker for me to type it than write it, plus it is easier to change and manipulate as I go. (As you know with homeschooling, things change constantly!) Each weekend, I update that next week's calendar, print each day on a separate sheet (meaning I have four or five sheets each week), and as we finish each thing on each day, I check it off with a red pen. This has worked well for us. I have our year well-documented and Maggie and I can both visually see how our day is going based on the number of checks we have completed. When all of the items are checked off, we are done! Sometimes, it takes us 4 hours; sometimes, it takes longer. But if you have younger children, you may not be working this long. I have had to get much more regimented with each year, as the load is more and we have goals to meet with our state's standardized test schedule. But I work hard to make every subject enjoyable, with plenty of hands-on projects and field trips. I want this stuff to stick and for her to enjoy her homeschool career. But because you are a homeschooler, expect and embrace flexibility. My parents will call and want to take Maggie on an RV trip sometimes, and that is way more important than what is typed on my sheet, so I adapt constantly. If she is headed to Florida, we will stop and do a small unit on the state so she appreciates what she sees when she gets there. Enjoy the ride! There will be time to get back to your schedule and everything will fall into place!

  3. I appreciate your reply so much! I'd love to hear what your schedule is like. It seems like you accomplish so much and it's hard to tell how long you spend on each lesson. For example, with History, do you just do it once a week? What about Science? And your other subjects? I'm sure it varies as a homeschooling parent, but what's a typical week like for you? I have an 8 and 6 year old (going into 3rd and 1st grade). I admire your homeschooling journey so much and have been following your blog for a while now with FIAR. You are amazing!

    1. Marina, you are so sweet! Sorry for the delay in responding. We just got back last night from an eleven-day roadschooling trip to Colonial Williamsburg. We traveled by RV so it was hard to respond to emails and check the blog. Thank you for your patience!

      Before third grade, I was a lot more lax in our homeschooling, doing a lot of unit studies. Once third grade started, things got more serious. Now, finishing up fifth grade, I would say we are quite studious, more than other homeschooling moms I have talked to. This is because I have a very quiet, reflective, cooperative child. She does well sitting for long periods of time. Plus, she is an auditory learner (unlike me), so she can deal with a lot of instruction without getting antsy. I know if she were any different, our schedule would not be what it is. Typically, we do cover every subject every day. Because of that, the amount of time we spend on each subject is minimal, but every day is not too much for us. Depending on my husband's work schedule, we have either a 4 or 5-day school week every week, working between 4 and 6 hours each day. We always start with Bible (giving God our first fruits) and follow it with mathematics, handwriting, language arts, science, history, and geography or Five in a Row (in that order). This is probably why we are able to cover two science texts a year, but science is Maggie's favorite subject so it doesn't feel like work. I expand our history and geography studies past the text, so that's why we can cover those daily and make them last a whole year. But this schedule may not work for your family! What's most important is to do what works best for you and your children. Every child is different. The most important thing is to have fun and keep learning. Don't put too pressure on yourself. I am constantly adjusting our yearly goals and schedule. For example, this roadschooling trip to Williamsburg was not planned until mid-year. I had to completely readjust our schedule to make room for an entire unit study on the early colonies, from the Native Americans to the end of the American Revolution. (That's over 250 years of history!) But we did it and everything I shoved aside will fall back into our schedule soon. Be flexible and have fun. God will handle the rest!