Category Archives: Life Sciences

Winter Nature Walk: Looking for Patterns (Winter Study 1)

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There’s nothing like a nice nature walk to help you gather new ideas for future nature studies. We have had an unusually warm December, and took the opportunity to take a great, long walk with with the dog, to see what is happening in the world around us, to clear the indoor cobwebs from our heads, and to just enjoy the outside air.  Here are the potential nature study topics that our walk generated:

All Kinds of Patterns

[by Kim M. Bennett]

Stone Walls

Here in New England, stone walls are as ubiquitous as sandy beaches are on the seashore. Geologists at the University of Connecticut study the patterns of stone walls in the Northeastern United States, because they teach us about the underlying bedrock upon which are towns and villages are built. Farmers of the early colonies could only move the glacial rubble so far, so the patterns of the rubble they could move tell about the patterns of the glaciers that formed the rubble.

Geology Patterns in Connecticut

$16.95 at Barnes & Noble

A few years back, we read Stone Wall Secrets, by Robert M. Thorson, a fictional account of a young boy, and the stories his father tells him about the natural history of his farm, as they sit upon the stone wall that surrounds it. I bought a teacher’s guide  to accompany a study of the geology of Connecticut several years back.

Connections: Geology, mineral cycle, weathering, Ice Age

An Ecological study of moss and lichens

There is an old belief that moss grows more heavily on the north sides of trees. As we walked, my husband even quoted this little gem. I remember that some of my college companions conducted an ecological study of this, to determine if it was true or not. I can’t recall! But it would be a fun thing to study, and easy for the winter, since moss stays so green all winter, here.

Connections: Ecology, forest biomes, mosses & lichens, population studies

Fractals: the math of natural patterns

Have you ever doodled in your notebook, creating branching patterns that branch again, then branch at the branches, and so on, and so on, until you run out of paper? If so, you are experimenting with fractals.

The science of fractals has turned observation on its end. It was once believed that, the closer you looked at something, the simpler the design, and, if you could look closely enough, you would see the simple geometric building blocks of every design. What we have found, instead, is that closer looks reveal increasing complex designs that often look like miniature versions of the larger design (think about fern fronds, or the branches on the oak tree in the photo, above, to see what I mean).

We might have to visit our post on “The Mathematics of Nature: Fractals,” adding a study of the branching patterns of oaks in our back woods.

Connections: geometry, number series, drawing, botany

The Patterns of exercise and our bodies

It is easy to stay shut in during cold weather where we live. But getting outside and moving is good for body, mind and spirit. Plus, we can count it as physical education and health, when we homeschool!

There are tons of apps for smart phones that let you log in and measure how many footsteps you take when you walk, how far you hike, your heart rate, and other data. Kids love these apps (heck, I love them!), and graphing is an important part of both math and science instruction. (As an adult, I find it helps me keep on an exercise schedule, if I am monitoring these things).

I downloaded My Fitness Pal to my smart phone — many people I know find it to be the most fun and easiest to use. Maybe my son could graph his parents weight as a function of how many miles of hiking we do this winter? Hmmm…

Connections: health, fitness, exercise, anatomy, graphing

Flowering schedules

Garden journal imageI saw this great little gardening journal template in Microsoft Word. It had places for notes, and photos, and lists (ooohhh… I love lists…). And a little section at the beginning of each month, where you record what plants are blooming.

What a great year-long idea for a child’s nature notebook!

We were very surprised to find the native witchhazel still in bloom (it peaks at the end of October here). At the end of January, some species crocus might bloom, if the weather is right. Then February can bring in some daffodils, plus the chamaecyparis. Before the peak bloom season, it might be a great time to start putting together a monthly bloom-time journal, to see patterns in when different types of plants bloom in your region.

[PS – Our seed catalogs started arriving last week. We’re very excited!]

Connections: gardening, diagrams, notebooking/journaling, botany

weather watching

We have always had an assortment of weather-watching equipment at the ready: an outdoor thermometer that looks beautiful and makes my husband very happy; a little rain gauge/weather vane that we fastened onto the porch support; rain barrels and other assorted rain measuring devices. These were fascinating for all of us. When you plot temperature, air pressure, wind speed or rainfall, you usually see patterns that reflect your region.

One year, my eldest and I used a cloud chart to forecast the weather. It certainly isn’t the long-range forecast we get on the news, but it’s pretty accurate within 24 hours, and fun for kids (and adults). There’s a great cloud chart that can be used to predict the weather available at Weather Forecasting Cloud Chart.

Connections: graphing, prediction, meteorology

Symmetry in nature

In fourth grade geometry, my son is learning about symmetry. This abstract idea is much easier to convey when you use real-life items in the natural world, to demonstrate it.

Take photos of objects and guide your children to draw lines of symmetry on the photos, rather than using 2D line drawings of geometric figures, only.

Connections: geometry, art/drawing

Fibonacci numbers

math wizardry patterns in nature1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55… can you complete the series? And do you know why these numbers are important?

These numbers are Fibonacci numbers, and the string of numbers is called a Fibonacci series. Natural objects are divided into parts represented by these numbers, and beautiful paintings can be divided into sections that represent this series. The number of needles in a bundle of pine needles, the winding of a vine around a pole, the number of scales on a pine cone … all contain Fibonacci numbers.

Read more about Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Proportion, and fractals in Math Wizardry for Kids (a favorite of my eldest son, a real math whiz).

Connections: mathematics, art, proportions

Rainfall

I was just commenting yesterday that we were in the middle of a huge dry season. I spoke too soon! It absolutely poured today. Even yesterday, our hiking was limited on the nature trail because of exceptionally soggy ground.

The woods behind our house has low-lying spots that are the vernal and autumnal nesting spots of spring peepers. We usually start hearing these little fellows around March, around the time when we start to see skunk cabbage poking through the slush and leaf litter. My eldest now serves on the town conservation commission, so he makes it his business to know all about our vernal pools.

All you need to measure rainfall is a flat pan, like a roasting pan or plastic shoebox, and a ruler. To convert between snow in the winter, and water, take the pan inside, let the frozen precipitation melt, and then measure (some people divide by 10, but this varies with the type of snow you get).

Connections: weather, measurement, observation

So What Will We Study?

Tough choices! Here’s what we decided:

  • the patterns of temperature and precipitation (so we can do some graphing)
  • snowflakes
  • using Fibonacci numbers to draw vines
  • predicting the weather through cloud watching

Here’s to a great (and mathematical) winter!

Happy Holidays!

~Kim

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New e-Book: Nests, Nests, Nests!

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Burgess Animal Book for Children

Nests, Nests, Nests! – a 25-page e-Book for zoology and nature study. Simple Science Strategies, $1.95

Earlier this month, we studied nests, comparing a squirrel’s nest to an oriole’s nest in “Comparing Nests: The ‘Same and Different’ Center.”   For those of you who want to study nests in more depth, I am pleased to share my newest e-Book, Nests, Nests, Nests!

Nests, Nests, Nests! is a 25-page e-Book perfect for the elementary classroom or homeschool science class.

This set includes both primary and regular-ruled science journaling pages focusing on animal nests, as well as a variety of framed pages for thematic writing, note-taking or nature study. Organizers for studying and comparing nests of different animal orders, coloring and copywork pages, and game cards for sorting and classification tasks make this set versatile, perfect for direct instruction or independent learning tasks.

Burgess Animal Book for Children

Set includes both primary- and regular-ruled pages.

Burgess Animal Book for Children

Several different organizers lead students to compare nests of different animal orders, and to develop a deeper understanding of the purpose of an animal nest.

 

Vintage botanical and zoological illustrations provide high-quality visuals for students to study and color, and the pages include plenty of space for journaling, notebooking or note-taking tasks.

Plain lined pages provide space for more extended writing tasks, or writing paper for independent writing tasks.

The nests of 6 different animal orders  are featured, to get students to think beyond birds’ nests in this study.

Three different organizers are provided: a double-bubble map, and a concept definition frame and a discussion frame.

The double-bubble can be used to compare two different nests, either from the illustrations, from text studies, or from a classroom collection of nests.

The concept definition frame can be used by the class to determine the essential qualities of any nest, and to develop an operational definition about what a nest really is.

The discussion frame is useful for cooperative learning tasks where students decide whether or not humans also create nests.

Burgess Animal Book for Children

Two pages of sortable animal nest cards can be used for a variety of games or independent learning tasks.

Burgess Animal Book for Children

Manuscript and cursive copywork pages include scriptures that fit the theme.

A two-page set of images can be used to create a sort activity, for small group or independent learning task use. Simply copy them onto cardstock or heavy paper.

Images includes nests from birds, mammals, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and other animal orders.

All images are original or images that are in the public domain. All the remaining work is original work.

 

If you are a homeschooler, and are looking for a “one-stop” set of notebooking pages, you will appreciate the manuscript and cursive copywork, which draws upon Scriptures on theme.

Per customer requests, this zoology item also includes suggested lesson uses, linked resources and much more.

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Click the button to order now!

 

The link to download the .pdf will be emailed to the email address you provide, within 24 hrs of your purchase.

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What is Hibernation? An Activity Using Discussion Frames (November Study #3)

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A discussion frame is an organizational tool that helps learners prepare a well-supported argument. By considering both sides of a provocative issue or claim, students are better able to build a case to support their own stance on the issue.

In this lesson, students will use a discussion frame in a group activity designed to help them compare hibernation and sleep. In the process, they will learn the defining characteristics of hibernation, and the different types of hibernation exhibited in the animal kingdom.

This lesson will also demonstrate the use of a simple monitoring technique using colored index cards, which students and teachers can use to check on student progress in discussion groups

discussion frame compare and contrast

Photo credit: (c) Michael Himbault, 2010 via Creative Commons

Materials Needed

  • Copies of the discussion frame (one per group of students)
  • Non-fiction resources (texts, articles, web resources) on hibernation and sleep
  • Writing tools
  • Colored index cards (red, yellow, green) – one set per table group

autumn nature study

Background Information for the Teacher

Before assigning the task to students, you will need to do your own research, to determine the following pieces of information:

  1. Are sleep and hibernation the same thing?
  2. What are the essential features of hibernation that I want students to understand?
  3. What key vocabulary do I hope that students uncover during their research?

Do not provide the answers to these questions to students, but use the information to guide discussion as students work, and when you debrief after the learning task.

What is Hibernation?

Most biologists define hibernation as “specialized, seasonal reduction in metabolism, concurrent with scarcity of food and cold weather (“Hibernation”. Bear.org. 2004-07-19. Retrieved 2012-11-27).

Some key physiological changes that occur in mammalian hibernation include the following:

  • Significant decrease in body temperature
  • Onset of a coma-like state, from which an animal has difficulty arousing
  • Cessation of eating and drinking
  • Cessation or drastic decrease in frequency of defecation and urination

States Similar to Hibernation

Estivation is a hibernation-like state that occurs during the summer, usually during extremely hot or dry periods.

Brumation is the term used to describe the winter physiological changes in reptiles, which cannot regulate their own body temperature. During this hibernation-like state, reptiles find refuge from freezing temperatures, as their surroundings cause decreases in their body temperature.

Torpor is a short-term period of reduced body temperature and metabolism, in response to diurnal or weather changes, such as extreme hot spells or the heat of the day in the desert.

So What is Sleep, Then?

While hibernation is characterized by significant changes in physiology, especially body temperature, sleep primarily brings on changes in brain activity, and only minor changes in physiology.

During sleep, heart rate and breathing rate decrease slightly, and body temperature decreases, but the changes that occur in these are not nearly as dramatic as the changes seen in hibernating animals, where one of the most marked changes is in body temperature. Sleeping animals can resume normal activities within minutes of being aroused, while an animal coming out of hibernation often acts sleep-deprived, and needs extra sleep over the next several days.

Conversely, a sleeping animal demonstrates dramatic changes in the amplitude and types of its brain waves, and different phases of sleep have their own characteristic patterns. Studies of the brain waves of hibernating animals show their brain activity looks much like the brain activity of wakeful animals.

Important Tier 2 Vocabulary Words:

  • Hibernation, sleep
  • Physiology, neurology
  • Rate, frequency, duration
  • Increase, decrease

Helpful Resources

autumn nature study

Building Background Knowledge

On the SmartBoard, on chart paper or on the board, write the word, hibernation. Invite students to share everything they think of when they think of the word, hibernation. As students share ideas, create a concept web, grouping like responses together (e.g., “sleep,” “body slows down,” “body temp drops” will be grouped together, as will responses like “bears,” “toads,” and other hibernating animals) – see diagram, below, for an example. It is not important to “edit” student responses at this time, as you will return to this concept web to revise it, after the students complete their research.

 

simple science strategies describing

Use a concept web to gather students’ prior knowledge about a scientific concept, such as hibernation. Ideas can be revised after further study. Image credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012

Post the completed web in view of all the groups.

A Note on Forming Groups

The focus of this learning task is on building an argument using evidence. This skill is accomplished through the use of cooperative structures which use discussion as an oral rehearsal for producing a written argument. So groups should be structured in a way to provide language models for students who are not as skilled in oral presentation, and to provide peer scaffolding for making meaning from a variety of non-fiction texts. See “Creating Mixed Instructional Groups” for more information on forming cooperative groups for activities such as this.

Cooperative Learning Strategies

Mixed ability instructional groups can provide peer scaffolding for comprehension, oral language and team building.

 

Having students assign team roles is helpful for all ages of student. Roles that will be helpful for this task include a time keeper, a recorder, a task master, and a materials manager. Some teachers add an encourager, wordsmith or illustrator, when working with groups of five. A wordsmith might be helpful when working with science texts.

The Discussion Frame: A Comprehension Tool

When posed with a provocative issue, students will quickly decide what their stance is on the issue. This is problematic, for several reasons:

  1. Their quick response is often based on emotion, misconception, or a limited amount of (often “popular”) information about the topic;
  2. Once committed to a view, it is difficult to persuade students of another viewpoint, even if their own turns out to be in error;
  3. The highest quality arguments anticipate alternative viewpoints, and prepare evidence to address these views ahead of time.

So, when using a discussion frame, students must use the text available to gather evidence both in agreement with and opposed to the central view or argument. Only when the teacher approves their evidence, is a group allowed to proceed to deciding on a stance on the issue. In this way, their view is more well-informed, has considered multiple possible views, and is prepared to address any dissenting views with appropriate evidence.

building an argument using evidence

 

The Discussion Frame: A Cooperative Learning Tool

Each group should receive the appropriate text materials (which, ideally, have been previewed by the teacher for their appropriateness for the task), as well as a copy of the discussion frame. If possible, enlarge to frame on 10” x 13” paper, to enable the whole group to more easily see the chart.

In the center of the discussion frame, have students write the statement: “Hibernation is simply a type of deep sleep.” (NOTE: When using discussion frames, using a declarative statement as the argument provokes more discourse than a question, which can lead to “yes” and “no” responses.).

You may print out the hibernation discussion frame, or the blank discussion frame, and edit as desired.

Provide students with enough non-fiction resources (ideally, previewed by the teacher for their appropriateness for the task), for all groups to have an assortment of reference materials to complete both the “Evidence to Support” and “Evidence to Refute” sides of the frame. They may use their concept web as a starting place for their research (as they will need to find evidence to support (or not) the ideas they have on the web. Remind students that they are NOT to take a stance until you approve their research.

building an argument using evidence

As a means of monitoring groups’ progress, pass out three colored index cards to each group: one pink, one yellow, one green. Prior to the groups beginning their discussions, instruct students to use the cards to indicate how their work is going: green if things are going well, yellow if they need clarification or some guidance, and pink if they are confused, or have reached an impasse in their team work. Periodically during the discussion period, use questioning to elicit a response from teams. Here are some examples of questions you might use:

  • [Before beginning]: “Show me with your cards how well you understand the task I have given you.”
  • [During discussion]: “Ok – just checking in. Use your cards to show me how well the team roles are going.”
  • [During discussion]: “Can I have your attention for a moment? Just doing a time check – use your cards to show me how close you are to finding evidence for both sides of the argument: green if you could stop now, yellow if you need a few more minutes to finish up, pink if you think you have a long way to go still.”
  • [After discussion]: “Ok – before we debrief: use your cards to show me how comfortable you are with the stance you have taken, how well you think you can defend it with the evidence you have. Green if you are confident, yellow if you think you have a good case, but could use some feedback, pink if you know that you need more or better evidence.”

Debrief

As students are winding down their discussions, pass word to each group, via the task manager, that each group should be taking a stance, based on their evidence, and that they should indicate what they feel are the three strongest pieces of evidence to support their stance (they do not need to write their argument at this time – just choose their evidence).

Begin by asking for a show of hands indicating whether the groups believed that hibernation was a kind of sleep, or not. Then ask groups to share what they thought were the most significant pieces of evidence. Project an image of the discussion frame, and record these pieces of evidence for all to see.

If time allows, discuss any evidence they recorded which they determined wasn’t strong or supporting evidence, and talk about why they decided so.

Return to the concept web, and invite students to revise their thinking about what hibernation is, and isn’t. Record changes to the chart in a different color.

 

building an argument using evidence

Photo credit: (c) Gilles San Martin, 2010 via Creative Commons

 

Possible Follow-up Tasks for Individual Student Research & Response

  1. Create a written argument, using the information on the discussion frame
  2. Conduct further research on any evidence which seems controversial or contradictory (e.g., black bears do not reach a coma-like state – are they true hibernators?)
  3. Conduct further research on one of the hibernation-like states (torpor, estivation, etc.)
  4. Create a double bubble map comparing hibernation and sleep
  5. Investigate the hibernation habits of an animal species of student’s choice, indicating specific environmental triggers and the animal’s response to them
compare and contrast

Image credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012

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The Art of “Blending” – Winter Camouflage (November Study 1)

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What is Camouflage?

cam·ou·flage

  1. concealment of things: concealment of things, by disguising them to look like their surroundings
  2. concealing devices: devices designed to conceal by imitating the colors of the surrounding environment
  3. protective coloration in animals: the devices that animals use to blend into their environment in order to avoid being seen by predators or prey, especially coloration

Fall provides many opportunities to observe how living things prepare themselves for winter. One topic we will explore this month is how animals’ coloration can aid in their protection during the fall and winter months.

This article will focus specifically on how animals’ coloration protects them in the fall and winter months. The larger topic of coloration will be reserved for another month.

Types of Camouflage

Animals exhibit several types of coloration, each of which protects them from harm in a different way.

  1. Concealing Coloration
  2. Disguise
  3. Disruptive Coloration
  4. Mimicry
  5. No Camouflage

Each of these methods will be examined more closely as it applies to fall and winter protection.

Concealing Coloration

When folks think of camouflage, this is the type of camouflage that probably comes to mind first, and is probably one of the most common, especially among prey species of birds, insects and other prey animals.

When an animal exhibits concealing coloration, it is colored or patterned in such a way that it blends into its surroundings, looking very similar to its environment.

Many animals adopt a different coloration in the winter. Some adopt the drab browns and grays of the fall and winter woodlands, such as many sparrows, winter goldfinches, and winter starlings.

Here’s a fun birding note – there are so many small birds that move fast, hide undercover, and are hard to tell apart unless you get a good look at them through binoculars: warblers, sparrows, finches, buntings… birders refer to these as “little brown jobs” or “LBJs.”

 

Camouflage Concealing Color Fall Nature Study

Many sparrows and other small birds use concealing color year-round, or just in the winter, to hide among the brown leaves of the forest floor. See “Little Brown Birds: Sparrows and Friends” for a study of brown birds. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2010.

 

Disguise

Overwintering insects are at great risk of being someone’s wintertime food. In many cases, they disguise themselves as dead leaves or twigs, to avoid being noticed. This is the case with many of the giant silk moths, whose caterpillars overwinter in cocoons wrapped in dead leaves and twigs, effectively blending them into the leaf litter. This is even more important, when you consider that some, such as the Luna moth, must overwinter, then remain in the pupa until nearly the end of July, before the adult moth emerges – a long time to remain hidden from view, and from potential predators.

 

Camouflage Fall Nature Study

Many caterpillars cover their cocoons with dead leaves, to look like leaf litter, as they overwinter. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012.

 

Disruptive Coloration

In the fall and winter, some birds don’t change color drastically, but become a little more striped or spotted, and begin to congregate in large groups. The combination of the markings and the masses of birds make it hard for a potential predator to pick one bird out of the group, similar to the way that the stripes on zebras make it hard for a lion to pick one zebra out of the herd.

This type of camouflage is called disruptive coloration. By adopting a pattern of stripes or spots, the “edges” of the animal become less distinct, making it hard for a predator to zero in on one animal, or on an animal’s vulnerable spot (head, neck). Gathering in a large group makes this even more effective.

European starlings don’t change color dramatically, but, in the winter, become much more spotted. Similarly, juncos have a strikingly white belly that blends in with the snow, making them look like a cluster of black dots hopping over the snow.

 

Disruptive Coloration Nature Study Fall

Juncos’ white underparts blend in with the snow, making their vulnerable underside indistinguishable from their environment. (c) Phoenix Wolf-Ray, 2008 via Creative Commons.

 

Mimicry

Sometimes, animals have markings that resemble other, less “edible” or more dangerous creatures. The Viceroy and monarch butterflies are a classic example of this, as are caterpillars that have markings and “horns” to resemble more menacing creatures. While not a true mimicry, there is a subtle version of this “look-alike” phenomenon seen in winter birds.

If you have been watching your feeding station (that you assembled last month), you may have noticed a few days when you had huge flocks of black birds that descended on the feeders, stayed for an hour or so, then left as quickly as they arrived. This happens in my feeding area sometime in September or October. I usually see a huge flock of grackles, but, amongst the grackles, there will be a few starlings, some red-winged blackbirds, and maybe a crow or two.

While this isn’t true mimicry, the species that are in fewer numbers gain protection from looking like, and joining, the flock of grackles (a species that commonly gathers in large numbers in the fall). This association doesn’t affect the grackles, but benefits the other bird species. Would-be predators are less likely to attack the raucous grackles than they are the more timid starlings and blackbirds. So there is protection by association.

 

camouflage fall nature study

Birds such as red-winged blackbirds and starlings, will sometimes join large flocks of similarly colored birds, such as these grackles, for safety in numbers. (c) Rich Anderson, 2005 via Creative Commons.

 

No Camouflage

Not every animal uses camouflage as a protective measure, in winter or any other time of the year. Just one look at your bird list from your bird feeding station, and you can see a number of common species that remain brightly colored, year round:

  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Jay
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Evening Grosbeak

There are also some common feeder birds that are brightly colored, but migrate to warmer, or even tropical, regions during the winter, so they continue to blend in with “summery” surroundings:

  • Scarlet Tanagers
  • Northern Orioles
  • Many warblers
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak

For these birds, the advantage of bright colors to attract a mate outweighs the risk of being easy to spot, or the bird has other means to protect itself from predators.

 

Blue Jay No Camouflage

Blue jays keep their bright blue coloration year-round. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2010.

 

The Learning Task

The Key skills and concepts

  • Dimension 1: Science ProcessEngaging in Argument from Evidence
  • Dimension 2: Cross-Cutting ConceptCause-and-Effect: Mechanism and Explanation
  • Dimension 3: Scientific DisciplinesLife Sciences: Biological Evolution – Unity and Diversity
  • Cognitive Process: Comparing & Contrasting

If you are not a member of Project Feeder Watch, consider donating your time (and a few dollars) to become a citizen scientist, and contribute your observations to a scientific project. For your subscription, you’ll get a poster of common feeder birds in North America, data sheets and/or access to electronic recording forms online, and a subscription to a monthly newsletter that is chock full of great information for homeschool, birding enthusiasts or classroom use.

If you’re not a member, you can use this procedure to study the fall and winter coloration of your feeder birds:

  1. Find a place to observe birds for about 15-30 minutes. [Your bird feeding station is a good place]. It is good to pick the same time each week, so that you get a true representation of the kinds of birds that come to your feeder.
  2. Print out copies of the camouflage recording sheet (enough for pairs or small groups of students).
  3. Note the date and weather conditions or any other important factors that might affect bird numbers (e.g., disturbances in the environment; a new feeder or food; the presence of a dog or cat in the area).
  4. Record the species of birds that come to your feeder during this time in the first column.
  5. Record the maximum number of that bird that you see at any one time (use a pencil so you can erase).
  6. Check off what kind(s) of camouflage you think the species uses in the next columns (NOTE: Only the most common winter camouflage types are listed).
  7. Record any other interesting observations in the last column.
  8. Summarize your observations about birds and coloration on the lines at the bottom of the page.

NOTE: There are no right answers to this task. The point is to begin to examine the coloration of birds, compare them, and draw some inferences about the relationship between the birds’ coloration and adaptation to changing seasons.

 

Share

Post your observations, photos and links to your blog post to the November edition of the Simple Science Blog Carnival! Make sure you include a link back to this post or the blog carnival in your blog post.

 

Backyard Birds of North America: An Introduction to Familiar Species — Perfect for bird lovers, this informative pamphlet details more than 140 urban avian species and provides instructions on attracting and feeding backyard birds. Laminated for durability, this handy guide is ideal for field use by novices and experts alike. $2.71, Barnes & Noble.

 

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The November Simple Science Strategies Newsletter is Here!

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Well, this is not the United States Postal Service…

Weather events, loss of power, school cancellations and other unforeseen events DO affect the schedule here at Simple Science. And we apologize for it!

Winter Storm Ali 2012

We’re done making our snowman… here’s the next newsletter!

Without further ado (or TOO much delay) here is the November edition of the Simple Science Strategies Newsletter.

In it, we will use November nature events as a springboard for conversations about some big science ideas:

Topic — preparing for winter

  • camouflage
  • hibernation
  • evergreen and deciduous trees
  • fall and winter nature finds

Science processes, concepts and disciplines

  • Building an Argument Using Evidence
  • Stability and Change
  • Life Sciences: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Strategies and tools

  • Comparing and Contrasting
  • Using Argument (Discussion Frames) to compare sides of an argument
  • Creating Double Bubble Maps to compare two things
Simple Science Strategies November Newsletter

Click image or link to download the November edition of the Simple Science Strategies Newsletter (2012)

Don’t Forget!

Share…

Please post your work on our Blog Carnival. See the link for important details about the November blog carnival.

Give us feedback…

Take a few moments to complete a very brief survey about your experiences on this blog.

win! (who doesn’t like free?)

Enter on our sister site, A Child’s Garden, for a chance to win an All-Season Indoor Composter, by UncommonGoods. Entries will be accepted through the end of November. No purchase necessary. Click here to enter.

 

The All-Seasons Indoor Composter, $48 at UncommonGoods.
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Aside

Without further ado, here is the … November 2012 Edition… of the Simple Science Strategies Blog Carnival. Preparing for Winter This months focus will be on how living things prepare for winter. Four different topics will be covered, as is … Continue reading

Here’s the October Edition of the Simple Science Strategies Blog Carnival!

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Welcome to the October 31, 2012 edition of the Simple Science Strategies Blog Carnival!

I delayed publishing for a few days, as I know many of my readers have been struggling with weather-related issues, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the Superstorm that followed. I pray that all are safe and sound and back to full power soon, if not today.

Thank you for participating in the October Edition of the Simple Science Strategies Blog Carnival!

 

Changing Seasons

Kim Bennett presents Signs of Autumn: Our Trip to the Orchard posted at A Child’s Garden, saying, “We took the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful autumn day and pick some tasty apples, in the process! We could have filed this under “Fruits and Seeds,” too.”

 

Fruits and Seeds

The Bennett family then follows up with Two Easy Apple Experiments posted on Squidoo, saying, “This lens was an extension of our apple orchard field trip (see “A Child’s Garden”), and was fun to do for some “kitchen counter science.””

 

Potpourri

freelee presents “Be a Backyard Scientist” posted at 52 Days to Explore, saying, “Botany, biology and other sciences in the back yard with simple items you may have.”

That concludes this edition. Thank you to all participants! Each submission earns a free copy of “Autumn Leaves: A Plant Study,” a 23-page science journaling e-Book for studying fall leaves.

Submit your blog article to the November edition of Simple Science Strategies using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


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