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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Animals & Habitats Week (June 6th-10th)

I would like to remind all of you that I am going to give this my best shot, but I will not sacrifice my sanity to make my children accomplish all of these things! If they're not having fun, or if we're just too tired, I'm not going to push it. I'll post pictures and suggestions as we get these activities done.

Objectives: Learn to describe a wide variety of habitats, and what live in each one.

By The End of the Week My Kids Will Be Able To:

*Understand the concept of estimating

*Identify solids, liquids, and gases

*Identify the different continents (and oceans, if you're feeling ambitious)

*Say they explored a cave

*Use a guide book to help them identify some local plants

Math Activities Planned for the Week:

*"Guess that Number" Estimation Game - prepare a cookie sheet with a few seperate piles of items. I'll probably do something like 5 dried beans, 12 paper clips, 20 Skittles, 15 sea shells, 25 pebble-sized rocks, and 45 grains of rice. Have the kids guess, then count how many items are in each pile.

*"Guess that Number 2" A More Difficult Estimation Game - prepare a series of the same size of jars. Use the same type of item in each jar, but vary the amount in each. Label a few of the jars with the correct number of items contained inside, but leave several for them to guess. I will probably use ziplock baggies and dry bow-tie pasta.

*"Guess that Number 3" A More FUN Estimation Game! - same concept. More hands-on. Set out the following for estimating:
*A turkey baster, an infant medicine dropper, a syringe style medicine dispenser, a large spoon
Now set out several tupperware conatiners (two of each, but a variety of sizes). Fill one container with water (add food coloring for fun), and set a similar container beside it, empty. Your kids can use the items set out to find out - How many Turkey Baster squirts of water will be in this container? How many drops of water will be in that container? Etc.

Science Activities Planned for the Week:

*Identifying solids, liquids, and gases using this site ( as a guide. It has simple experiments to help introduce each state of matter, and even has links to simple quiz questions.

*Habitat Observation - Give each child a clip board and some crayons, pens, or pencils. Go to an area by water (river, pond, lake) and observe what lives there. Have your child draw what they see. Notice plants, animals, insects. Why do those things chose to live by/in the water? Make the same observations in a wide variety of areas. Examples could include: in the mountains, in a garden, in the soil (under rocks, for example). You could also do this activity using library books, which would be faster, and you could talk about a wider variety of habitats, but it won't be as memorable or fun!

*Learning Countries (and possibly oceans) - While my kids are riding their bikes in the driveway, I plan to make the best world map from sidewalk chalk as is humanly possible. I will likely try to make it look a bit like this. I will also bring out an easy-to-read map, in case my drawing turns out less than accurate.
I'll identify the countries to the kids, then have them try to throw a beanbag on them, squirt a water gun to hit them, blow a bubble that pops on them, or bounce a ball on top of them. I'll repeat this activity more than once that week, and hop they might start getting the hang of which country goes where. I will have them try their best to fill out a blank map once they get inside. If they can't remember, no big deal. It's just fun to try!

Arts & Crafts Activities Planned for the Week:
*Make Buoyant Buddies out of foam sheets and corks - talk about types of animals that live in the water (ocean, lakes, rivers). Here are pdf stencils for the animals.

*Make a popsicle stick puzzle. Have your child draw a picture of an animal that lives in a habitat you have discussed. They can even flip the popsicle sticks over and do another one.

Language Arts Activities Planned for the Week:

*Create a Mad-Libs to learn about verbs. Maybe something like the following:

My favorite animals is (your favorite animal). This animal lives in (name a country) inside a (name a type of habitat). (Your favorite animal again, plural) like to (verb), (verb), and (verb). They especially like to (your favorite game)! If you are going to keep a (favorite animal) for a pet, it's important to know that they need lots of (type of food), and a (type of climate) place to stay. Give them lots of love and attention. Tell them (exclaimation) often so they know how much you care. And whenever you are (verb that ends in -ing), bring them with you!

I am still working on daily worksheets for the summer. I'm thinking something like the following:

*Grade Level K
*Grade Level 1

(**my lack of technical skills is slowing the posting of the pdf worksheets I've made - Sorry!**)

Computer Activities Planned for the Week:

*There are a lot of internet sources for observing different animals in their habitiats. Have your kids check out for a wide variety of videos and pictures.

*YouTube has a bunch of short clips. Get on their site and search with terms like "forest habitat", "ocean habitat", "swamp habitat", "rainforest habitat", "desert habitat", "arctic habitat", "underground habitat"....

PE Activities Planned for the Week:

*Swim at Spanish Fork Reservoir (watch for fish, ducks, birds)

*Hike up Hobble Creek Canyon (observe how it feels cooler in the trees, what things grow in the mountains...)

*Weed all around the yard. What? It needs to be done! (explain how Utah is mainly desert and that the plants that do best here need little water)

Field Trips Planned for the Week:

*Hike the Timpanogos Caves in a guided tour

*Go to the Zoo. Zoos try to make the animals feel at home. What things do they "decorate" the cage with to make the animals feel they are in their original habitats?

*Get a Snow Cone and read a book about the Arctic Habitat

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