Monday, May 18, 2015

The Yucky Stuff is Awesome! Digging Through a Vernal Pool

We LOVE learning about nature!  It's such a fun and interesting way to study science.


We hit the books for just a few minutes today before heading out for a nature class.  

We were heading to Kettle Pond Visitor Center for another fun homeschooling class.  Today we were going to the vernal pools to look for life in and around the water.  

We arrived early and went into the center to look around.  The boys had so much fun in the small classroom today; it's a room we've never really looked around in before.

We saw a corn snake, a painted turtle, and lots of crayfish.

They worked together to put together a puzzle showing the life cycle of a frog.

Alec worked on a mini game matching the bird to the name.

They looked at skulls and horns and antlers.

They looked through books and we picked up a couple of free posters to take home.

Alec added a bird drawing to the butterfly & bird board.  It was a lot of fun.

Reading about invasive species 

Visiting with friends before class

Working on the puzzle 

Learning about a horse skull; learning
about predators & prey and the placement
of their eyes 

Almost finished

Matching bird pictures to their names 

Alec's bird drawing 

Once everyone had arrived the ranger herded us all outside to the vernal pool.

We were warned that looking through the muck was not to be called yucky.  We had to think awesome. 

 I wasn't so sure of this concept.

 Muck is yucky and dirty and slimy.

He had the kids break off into small groups and then he went along filling up everyone's bins with muck.  The kids were told to start pawing through and look for signs of life.  They had sheets with pictures of some of the things they might find; tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs, water striders, Oligochaete worms, scavenger beetles and scavenger beetle larvae, salamander larvae, and many more "things."

Alec surprised me by digging right in.  I know he's my animal/nature lover but he doesn't usually like mucky, yucky, dirty, water.

The other two boys hung back for quite a while.  They eventually started poking through with sticks and by the end even Ian had his hands in the muck.

We all found so much stuff to look at and see in our little buckets!!            

The ranger occasionally came around showing something that someone had found and all the kids thought nothing of going over to each other buckets and checking out discoveries too.

It was awesome!

We could even see some really small bugs and things moving around in the water and it made me realize I have got to get some blank slides for our microscope at home and try to look for organisms near our house to check out.

The whole group leading out to the pond

Alec dug right in! 

Petting a wood frog that the ranger found for us 

Still searching for something other than leaves

We found a tadpole! 



You have to be patient and persistent 

Dragonfly nymph & tadpole 

We found lots of tadpoles in this bin;
and even saw a dragonfly nymph! 

A whole handful of tadpoles

Marbled salamander nymph; larger than the other salamanders their eggs are laid the previous fall so they're the
first ones at the vernal pool site in the spring.  They eat everything else since they're the biggest and top of the food chain 

See the red worm?? That's an Oligochaete worm

After our morning at the visitor's center a few of us decided to head to the beach.  The kids had fun playing on the playground, digging in the sand and playing in the water (up to their ankles!).  They tried to bury one another and got to see a huge horseshoe crab up close.  We ended up staying for several hours.  Even though it was just about dinnertime the boys were reluctant to leave.  It was a wonderful day.

It was a little windy and cool at the beach today

Digging some holes 

Checking out the horseshoe crab; it had barnacles on it! 

Swinging & playing 

Still working on the hole 








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2 comments :

  1. Looks like a fantastic time! We love nature stuff around here. :)

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    Replies
    1. Once the boys got over their initial squeamishness we had a great time.

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