Starfish Gazing

During this week in Science class the kids have been learning about invertebrates. Think back really hard to your school days and remember what an invertebrate is. Can’t remember…well here I will help you!  Cover Starfish

Definition of an Invertebrate as found on Wikipedia:

Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a backbone or spine), derived from the notochord. This includes all animals apart from the subphylum Vertebrata. Familiar examples of invertebrates include insects; crabs, lobsters and their kin; snails, clams, octopuses and their kin; starfish, sea-urchins and their kin; jellyfish, and worms.

So, now we have that out-of-the-way! The kids were skeptical about dissecting a poor little animal. I convinced them it was in the name of science and by the time we were done they would have a clearer understanding of the animal and a new respect for it.

All too often the kids will view and animal such as the Starfish as unimportant because it is not cuddly like a cat or dog. This study helped them to see that all creatures have a purpose and are beautiful in their own way. Well…except roaches right? I think we can agree that no one likes roaches.

The neat thing about the dissection kit was that it had step by step instructions and I did not have to make up the steps as we went. There were some words that took some time to pronounce but we were all the better for trying!

On to the photos!


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The dissection tray and tools.
Bri Starfish
Bri focusing on making the right cut.
Audy Starfish
Audy cleared out the intestines.
Mav Starfish
Mav removed the skin.
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This is our project table cloth. It was on sale, kind of ugly and perfect for our projects. It has seen a lot!

I am always into making sure the kids have fun while learning. This seemed like the perfect way to get them involved in the lesson. We live very close to the beach and I try to instill in them respect for the ocean and all animals.

 

Sea Turtle Field Trip

 

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Visting NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle Lab in Galveston Texas

This week in science class,the kids learned about the seven species of Sea Turtles. As a special treat we went on a field trip to the NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle Research Lab in Galveston Texas to learn more.

The whole experience was great. Our tour guides were patient with all of the kids who were present and thoroughly educated them on the plight of sea turtles. After about an hour educational session we were finally able to see the turtles. I had never seen one, like, ever!! So, it was super exciting for me.

We stopped in a field where our tour guides showed the kids what a TED is. The turtle excluder device or TED is a specialized device that allows a captured Sea Turtle to escape when caught in a fisherman’s net. Each kid had to hold their breath while running through the net to escape through the device. Holding their breath helped the kids to appreciate what a Sea Turtle would have to do.

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Learning about the Turtle Excluder Device for fishing nets

 

After the demonstration we headed inside the turtle barn. There were all Loggerhead turtles in the facility but Kemp’s Ridley are the main turtles who nest and frequent the Texas Coast. Us natives know that y’all. Sorry my Texan slipped out. 😉

All in all it was worth the six month wait. It was such a beautiful day that we headed down the Sea Wall and walked the beach. The kids got to see a Moon Jellyfish and Barnacles attached to a rock. I am not a fan of barnacles but it was cool to see the kids so fascinated by them.

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Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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Moon Jellyfish on the Beach

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Technically, I did get to see a small sea turtle that was less than a year old. I think that qualifies as a baby and thus fulfills one activity on my Life List!

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I got to see a baby Sea Turtle. Life List checked!!

I do know that Sea Turtles are on the endangered animals list so I was not expecting to hold one today. Hopefully one day, I can have the privilege of holding one.

On the Gulf Coast we know not to touch Sea Turtles or disturb their nests. If you visit the coast and see Sea Turtle tracks or an actual turtle you can call 1-866-Turtle5 and someone will come out to assess the area.

Have you ever seen a live Sea Turtle or the nest hatchlings?

 

Homeschool Supplies

10-things-w-1You might think it would cost an arm and a leg to buy supplies for your homeschool. That is not necessarily the case. You likely have a few items around your house that could be re-purposed. Keep things simple and stick to your budget. Never underestimate dollar stores or other discount stores where you can find some of the best deals!

Now let’s get started on the list.

1. Good electric pencil sharpener. I could not even begin to relate how many inferior sharpeners we have been through.  This is an invaluable product to have. Whether you purchased cheaper pencils or the more pricier brands, a good electric sharpener will be able to get that perfect point.

2. Printer. Having a printer that can scan and has color capabilities is extremely helpful. There are so many free and valuable homeschool resources on the internet.Having the ability to print them for use in instruction is helpful.

3. Laptop/Computer. We base most of our homeschool on resources found on the internet. Even so, the kids do not spend a lot of time sitting on the computer. Be sure to install pop up blockers and teach your kids about internet safety.

4. Simple Storage. I use the word simple because as mothers we tend to over think things at times. Well, at least I know I do. I purchased a few mason jars (picked up from the dollar store) to store pencils, highlighters and pens. I re-purposed a cube storage shelf we already owned and turned it into our homeschool supply area. It’s great because we can store our books and other supplies there.

5. Entertainment. We live in a major city so entertainment is not far. But during school hours we need something that is educational and fun. Netflix (no I wasn’t paid to advertise this)  is great because there are many nature documentaries that go well with our science studies. It’s also fun for the kids after school to watch their favorite cartoon and unwind at the end of the day.

6. Art Supplies. I know you’re probably thinking that this is where we blow the budget. Not the case at all. We bought a few paints, brushes, crayons, markers, construction paper and small poster boards. There are so many things lying around your house that you could use for art supplies.

7. School Supplies. Since my kids were not attending public school this year we saved a ton of money on supplies. A few pencils, scissors, binders and notebooks were all we needed.

8. Dry Erase Board. We have had a lot of fun with the dry erase board. It makes explaining complex subjects and ideas easier. I don’t just use the board for solving problems. It’s also used to write encouraging notes and tips of the day.

9. Teacher Supplies. Again, you do not need a lot of things. Depending on what curriculum you have settled on, you can prepare yourself for what you need. I have found an online planner that lets me keep track of the kids assignments, grading and even print report cards. I have purchased a stapler, paper clips and five subject notebook to further help me keep organized. In a later post I will explain how I use the notebook.

10. Classroom Decorations. We use our dinning room for our main classroom. We have a map of the world, various education posters and inspiration quotes on the walls. Even if there is limited space or you feel like you are not creative, you can still come up with a cozy spot in the house or apartment for your kid(s) to spend their school day. Homeschool is not about sitting in one room for hours. After all that is one of many reasons why we chose to keep our kids out of public school. Field trips, science experiments, family time and lounging on the couch while you complete an assignment is what homeschool is about. But it’s still nice to have an area that is dedicated to a quiet area to study.

Do you homeschool? What supplies have proved to be most useful for your family?