Friday, September 7, 2012

Rock Hunt and Zoo Safari

For the end of August we did a Rocks and Minerals theme. We read several interesting books, and went on a couple rock hunts. Those proved a challenge. Our first nature walk took us around the neighborhood.

There were rocks in the road of course...

But in yards? Nothing.
Here are a couple loose pieces picked up off the pavement.

This left me wondering "Why? Why can't we find rocks in our neighborhood or along the nature trail? Further south where we used to live we could always find a couple." One of the days in the unit provided the answer. It turns out that due to glacial deposits and such most of the rock locally is buried deep under the dirt. If we were to find any rocks, we needed to visit a river. Ah, a river! Another field trip opportunity.


Lots of little rocks right along the edge of the water.

Even enough rocks to make ripples.

In the end it wasn't a bad collection. Lesson learned, if we need to look for rocks out here, head to water! T and I looked at them under the magnifying glass. Then we tried to identify them in his rock book. I just wish the unit had been longer, or we'd been visiting my family in the desert. Lots of rocks there!

Letter and Number practice. We've traced, used play dough, sidewalk chalk, and even cheerios this last week. Last week was review of whatever letters he wanted. This week, as we started September, we've re-started the alphabet. Right now we're practicing a couple letters a day on average.

Forming letters with cheerios

I was pretty pleased at how well he did writing capital and lowercase A by himself.

Fine Motor/Life Skills:

He loved doing this! Threading cheerios on toothpicks. Can easily become a counting activity as well.

We read Brown Bear Brown Bear and made brown:

T surprised me with his coloring.

We wrote down every zoo word he could think of, and came up with a good list.

For Labor Day, we discussed why work is important and the people who work are important as well. He did some activities in a construction activity book and made "Thank You" cards for "workers".

This week we started a new theme on Zoo Animals (Animals Around the World). The first day we read a book called "A Trip to the Zoo" together. Then we headed out and spent the rest of the day enjoying the local zoo.

We saw penguins.
Dog sharks.

A dolphin show too! There's a small aquarium at this zoo with more exhibits than I'm showing here. When we get to our Oceans unit we'll either return to the zoo or drive 1.5 hours to the nearest large aquarium. I like the idea of this one being right here, small as it is.

They divide this particular zoo into sections like Grasslands, Forests, Oceans. I think I prefer how Tucson's zoo divides the sections into continents, but hey, it's not bad. In the Forests section, he got to see a bear from Alaska cooling off in a pool.
Two different kinds of bats hanging around, representing two different continents
An entire aviary was devoted to Budgies/Parakeets
The other to more exotic birds
He also enjoyed watching the Baboons. They were making quite a ruckus!

In the grasslands we found his favorite giraffes. In fact, he got to feed them. At this zoo they fed them carrot sticks.
Two of the elephants had calves!
He kept commenting on how muddy the rhinos were.

He loved watching the crane stand on one leg.
Even got to ride the train. What a treat!
There was a Desert environment, and a snake house. The door to the snake house was particularly fun.
A display with an entire rattlesnake skeleton, and a related hands-on exhibit.
He loved them.

Our inspiration:


Brittany Rae said...

how awesome!! I love the pictures :P and how you used nature to teach!!

daniii♥ said...

What great ideas!!! We love the zoo. I'll have to remember the list idea the next time we go.

Lisa said...

Brittany Rae- thanks! I love nature and was so excited to find a preschool curriculum that encouraged exploring nature!

Daniii- Glad you enjoyed it! Making a list like that is a great kind of "game" after any interesting outing or other big activity.