Friday, July 10, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Week

Thing One actually let me choose the theme, and I went with one that Daddy suggested, the Chesapeake Bay. We started the week by looking at maps of the area, and discussing definitions of a bay, saltwater, freshwater, brackish water, estuary, marsh, tributary, watershed, and pollution.

We talked about animals and birds that live in or near the bay, and fishes and shellfish. Our book list this week:
Olly the Oyster Cleans the Bayby Allen
Chadwick the Crab and his Chesapeake Bay Friends by Cummings
Chadwick the Crab and the Garplegrungen by Cummings
Awesome Chesapeake, a Guide for Kids by Bell
Chesapeake ABC by Cummings
Chesapeake Rainbow by Cummings
Life in an Estuary by Walker
Finding Birds in the Chesapeake by Aiken
Bella Baxter and the Lighthouse Mystery by Mason
What the Sea Saw by St Pierre
My Grandpa and the Sea by Orr

We listened to some new music. Of course, I played "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding, and we checked these cds out of the library:
Ratatouille soundtrack (I love this cd, think we'll be buying it, it's just fun, all the songs are about food, one of my favorite things)
Come and Make a Circle, Susan Salidor
Wiggles, Wiggle Bay
Nickel Creek, self titled (I picked this for the Lighthouse song, and because it has a cover of one of our favorites, The Fox)

We talked about the Bay Bridge and watched a dvd about how it was designed and built (Modern Marvels Vol. 13). The same dvd had an episode about lighthouses, so we watched that one, too.

We visited the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center, which was recently renovated. I was disappointed to see all the same exhibits we have seen before, but it's been several years since we visited and it was all new to Things One and Two. The big hits there were the touch tables (animal pelts, bones, and antlers), the kids' area with puzzles and books, and the tram ride. The tram ride was a forty minute long tour of some of the refuge. I learned a lot and I think the boys did too. Thing One said the tram ride was his favorite thing we did this week.

We made a wave jar with oil and water colored blue. This is from the book Simple Nature Experiments with Everyday Materials by Anthony D. Fredericks. I used an old empty plastic mayonnaise jar that I had been saving to use as an estimation jar. We also grew some magic crystals.

We examined some seashells closely. When Thing One saw this one, he exclaimed, "It's just like the wand of Dianthus!" (from The Magic Tree House books). We made several fish crafts. We made a little mini-aquarium with the cutout that came out of a fish stencil, and part of the packaging from something or another I saved that looked like an aquarium.
We made a fish puppet from a kit we had. We did an anatomical puzzle of a horseshoe crab and read a story about how horseshoe crabs are harmless.

We walked a friends' dog this week, and there is a little pond in her neighborhood. It's a mess of a pond full of algae and litter, but it turned out to be a great week to hang out there. We were discussing algae as part of the food chain, so it was nice to be able to show it to Thing One. We also spied frogs, turtles, red winged blackbirds, dragonflies, and tons of cattails and a few blackberries.

I had hoped to actually go to the bay this week, perhaps take a boat tour or go to the beach. I have to admit that I don't like the beach. I have never really cared for all that sand everywhere. I'm more of a mountain hiker and forest explorer kind of person. But it feels selfish to live this close to the bay, study it for a week, and not go see it.

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