Which animal is it?
Click on the blue button below to go to the game Polygraph on Desmos. It is much like the game Guess Who? with all of the pictures of faces on the flaps. As you ask questions you eliminate some of the choices until you have the last remaining picture. I used pictures of animals from the Minnesota Zoo, Gale Woods Farm, and my own backyard. When you connect to Desmos you might have to wait until someone else signs in so you can play.
I spend a lot of time researching and playing card games with students to strengthen their number sense. We work on making tens, number order to ten, and smoothly adding and subtracting numbers up to 100 through many different games using playing cards.
The Making Ten game is great for 2 - 4 players.
Things to remember: A = 1, Jack, Queen, and King = 0
In the center of the table place 4 cards face up. Deal out the rest of the deck equally among players. Do not look at the cards. Just stack your cards face down like in the game of War.
The first player reveals his top card and if he can make a ten using his card and one of the table cards, he pairs them up and moves them to an area near him. He continues his turn until he cannot make any more tens.
Play moves around to each player in turn.
Sometimes there are several face up cards in the middle of the table. That is ok. Eventually you will be left with many picture cards because they will not get used up.
Some of my students were not confident enough in their making ten facts and needed the help of a rekenrek.
When no more tens can be made, then each player counts up the ten pairs he has and the winner is the player with the most ten pairs.
During the one hour You Rock! class, we looked at many different rocks through hand lenses. We discovered that dipping rocks into water helps you really see the colors hiding under the gritty surface.
After making our observations, we chose a smooth beach stone weathered by wind and water to decorate with acrylic craft paints. The dotting tools we used were fantastic for making small intricate designs. We practiced on paper first to get the hang of it. Then students chose to make a mandala design or something else!
These are the tools we use in class and they are wonderful. You really only need one set. The set below with the blue handles have some very large dotting ends. We also used fine tipped paintbrushes from Michaels. Clicking on the pictures below will take you to Amazon's page.
It's 5 degrees outside on New Year's Day in Bloomington, MN. We have been wanted to make ice art but it has been too warm. Today was finally the day!
We gathered up all of our cake pans.
Added water, food coloring, and anything else. Be careful with the food coloring. It is hard to wash off your hands and clothes.
We took a few clippings from our Christmas tree and then added some cranberries.
Even with such very cold temperatures, it took a day for the "Ice Cakes" to freeze solid.
The All About Owls classes are coming up soon and I wanted to get reacquainted with the slightly gross owl pellet. As you probably know, owls are predators. They hunt and eat mice, voles, and other small mammals and small birds. The owl swallows the animal meal whole, then regurgitates the fur and bones as a pellet. On the hiking trail at the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, there is one tree where you can often find pellets on the ground. It must be a popular dining spot.
The pellets I will be using in the upcoming class were bought from the Raptor Center. They are autoclaved (heated) to kill most germs and bacteria. We used gloves today just to be extra safe.
There is a surprising amount of fur that is compressed into the pellet. My student used her fingers to break apart the fur and came up with a few small bones.
In the All About Owls class, students will learn about the owls that are found in Minnesota and how they fly, hunt, and nest. Each student will dissect an owl pellet and can bring the bones home to examine and admire.
I was reminded of my cousin who many years ago used the bones from owl pellets to create small desert scenes by placing a mouse skull in the sand near a small cactus in a Georgia O'Keefe style.
All About Owls classes are offered in Bloomington and Shakopee.
Many people have a conifer tree in their homes right now as part of their Christmas decorations. It might be a pine, spruce, balsam, or fir. These evergreen trees are all conifers, meaning they have cones on them. The photo above shows a very large spruce loaded with cones. Big clusters of cones are located by the top of the tree. In Outdoor Nature Explorers class, we sometimes make discoveries on the ground under all the branches. We search for cones of different sizes and shapes.
There are many great guide books available to help you distinguish spruces from pines. Here is a very helpful website that can help you identify any tree:
As spruce trees get older, the bark gets more rough.
During Outdoor Nature Explorers class this week we made bagel bird feeders to hang up around the school. Caribou at France and Old Shakopee was kind enough to donate their left over bagels to me to use as bird feeders. Thank you Caribou!
I sliced the bagels in half and each student spread Crisco on the cut side and then dipped it into the birdseed.
We slid the messy bagel halves into wax paper bags to take them on our hike around the school.
The next Outdoor Nature Explorers class starts next week and we will have plenty of snow to examine and build into forts or snow people or whatever we want! In one of my past winter Nature Explorers class, the kids built a snow bowling alley on a hill. It was awesome!
Wilson Bentley spent years photographing snowflakes. His photos are online on the NOAA.gov website. These books are wonderful and are available at your local library or on Amazon.
We finally saw the beavers on the Minnesota Trail at the Minnesota Zoo. We have been going there for ten years and have never seen any beavers. They are huge!
Here's one handsome wolf.
We had summer, then fall, then winter, now fall again! Whew! The pond by Olson Elementary was looking especially beautiful today with the sun shining on the water and many animals out doing their thing. A bald eagle swooped near us and that was pretty exciting. We saw a mallard family - mom, dad, and lots of teenage sisters enjoying a quiet area near the shore. And the cattails are bursting!