Above and Below the Pond

We decided to head out to investigate at a local nature center today! It’s finally warm out and we’ve been reading about pond ecosystems above and below the water. So, what better way to spend the morning than seeing and exploring what we’ve been reading about!

These are some of the books we’ve been taking a look at:

0505151236We were able to see turtles, wild flowers, fish, skate bugs, owls and geese.0505150956

Luke wondered if this was a vanilla bean flower?!

Luke wondered if this was a vanilla bean flower?!

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Two character that were very entertaining!

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Wood Frog Class!

Now that all the snow has been gone for about a week and a half, the wood frogs nature class was finally a go!

These are some really neat frogs! They dwell in the northern most climates and can shut down their bodies for the winter months and then “bring themselves back to life” in the spring.

At our class today we all headed down to the vernal pool and though the frogs were quiet, we did get to see eggs and some spring growth happening. Liam had learned in the forestry class a few weeks ago that if you count a sprig of pines, you will then be able to name the type of pine tree it came from. Meaning 5 pine needles= a 5 letter word= WHITE- white pine.

counting pine needles

counting pine needles

spring growth- the shape of them caught our eye

spring growth- the shape of them caught our eye

Looking for frogs

Looking for frogs

Observing eggs! About 500 in this picture

Observing eggs! About 500 in this picture

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eggs floating on the surface of the pool

eggs floating on the surface of the pool

The Mystery of Chocolate!

This morning we were up and ready to go on a Chocolate Factory tour with our local homeschool group we just recently became members of. Before heading out I asked the kids if they knew where chocolate came from, and how the process works.

 

They were pretty much familiar with it all, but I had them view this video anyway and I’m glad I did as it turned out- even though we were going as a group, it was self-guided. It was a small room off of the shop that had examples and some machinery to look at and the process from the bean to the bar along the wall to read as we walked up the ramp to the viewing area of the factory. (Not what any of us were picturing) we were thinking a walk through the factory, but it was fun just as well. And, free samples to taste- no complaints! They had many flavors I had never heard of, we took some more home to try- we will be going back to try more soon!

The Hauser Chocolatier

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Winter Nature Walk

Today was one of those days where sitting and concentrating was NOT going to happen! They had a lot of energy and after trying a few planned lessons and threw my hands up and said- get your snow gear we are going out for a walk!

We headed out just as the snowflakes started falling! It was so pretty and the boys were able to catch as see the geometric shapes in the snowflakes as they landed. They were so excited, it was the perfect kind of snow for a hike.

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We headed out and just went down the street to a place called Barn Island. We walked through the marshes and saw some birds and continued catching snowflakes. It didn’t take long for the boys to find the ice under the snow patches and begin to explore!

They tried to break it, slide on it, dance on it, and observed how the water moved underneath and the ice and how they could eventually use the broken ice pieces as a tool to break the rest of the ice! They had a blast and discovered quite a bit about the ice and observed changes from when we were there in the fall.

They got more out of their day here than at the kitchen table for sure!!

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Catching Flakes!

Catching Flakes!

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"look how it cracks!"

“look how it cracks!”

Ice Dancing!!

Ice Dancing!!

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“Look at this one! It’s overflowing and coming out on top!”

Digging in with "ice picks"

Digging in with “ice picks”

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Photo Collage of our Fall Field Trip

We headed out to Haley Farm to see some foliage and explore some nature by hand since we have been reading about it all week! Not the sunniest day to go, but we enjoyed our nature walk just the same- drizzle and all, we got to see and explore a lot! Seeds, Leaves, Deer, water,reeds, marsh and puddles!

Observing the foliage and seeds

Observing the foliage and seeds

Pretty Purple

Pretty Purple

boys will be boys- sword fighting with reeds!

boys will be boys- sword fighting with reeds!

Liam found and opened up a seed to find it smiling!

Liam found and opened up a seed to find it smiling!

Lots of seeds here!

Lots of seeds here!

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The puddle player!

The puddle player!

Wildlife Refuge Walk/Photo Contest Prep

Beautiful morning for a shoreline hike, perfect temperature and clear skies! We headed out to a local National Wildlife Refuge and found an abundance of beauty everywhere we looked! The boys were on the look out for photo ops, they are interested in entering an amateur photo contest put on by our states refuges.

I handed my camera over to the boys and they found more than enough to take photos of! We were also able to spot some wildlife as well as beautiful flora and both boys were able to identify most of them, as well as some lovely landscapes.

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Liam spotted this yellow finch and was so excited!

This is trip #1- they want to go again and take some more and then pick their final choices.  Feel free to leave a comment on your favorites! :)- Not all of these are entry possibilities, but figured we’d share them since it was so pretty there today!

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Ocean view!

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Crab enjoying his lobster dinner under the sea!

Birds on rocks

Birds on rocks

Golden Rod

Golden Rod

 

Yellow Finch on the branch

Yellow Finch on the branch

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beautiful berries

beautiful berries

landscape lovely-ness!

landscape lovely-ness!

Adventures that-ROCK!

Today we packed up the backpack with a bunch of supplies and headed out to a local state park.  We went to Hurd State Park, also know as “split rock”  In the granite ledges of the split rock are veins of feldspar which was once mined extensively in Connecticut.

Liam has been studying the industrial revolution and reading a book about mining the past few weeks, so I had the idea to go explore rocks!rocksin the backpack: safety goggles, hammers,cloth,magnets,notebook, paints and brushes, paperbags and insect repelant.

What did we learn: rocks and minerals,  some of CT.’s history, navigation, seasonal changes, geography, navigation,  reading and math skills and team work!

As we entered the park, Liam was in charge of reading the park map as I drove. Of course, Luke chimed in too. We found our parking space at the head of the trail and I had both boys take another look at the trail map and tell me which direction we needed to head to be near the Connecticut River.

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We headed down and found  a beautiful spot to set up our materials. After grabbing their brown bags they headed over to collect rocks at the rivers edge.

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Once they had collected all the rocks they wanted, they came back to the picnic table to investigate! They broke them open using a hammer and had a blast looking at the texture and colors on the insides. We also checked to see if any had any magnetism to them…they did not.  Luke proceeded to paint a few of his and then measured all of his rocks.

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Luke spent time exploring in a variety of ways, while Liam really enjoyed breaking open all his rocks and said he found some  crystals and lots of pieces of mica in his!

We had a quick picnic after they were through exploring and headed back to the car and  over to the Split Rock trail.

Luke was our leaded and pointed out the yellow trail mark to us. Along the way they both spotted a woodpecker, frog and granite and more mica, plus a few other goodies!

Great fun and lots of learning! And…I love how they looked with their safety goggles! 🙂

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