Sunday, February 15, 2009


In honor of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, National Geographic aired three episodes of Morphed. It is a show that shows the evolutionary progression of animals. The three shows Georgia watched were "From Dinosaur to Turkey", "When Whales Had Legs", and "Before They Were Bears". She also visited the show's website and checked out the interactive section.

Happy Valentine's Day!

We made heart-shaped pizzas. Georgia had the idea a few weeks ago after reading about it in her Feb 2009 issue of National Geographic Kids magazine.

Olivia made hers with turkey pepperoni, Georgia made a cheese pizza with three turkey pepperonis in the shape of a heart in the center, Mark's was turkey pepperoni and jalapenos, and mine was shrimp and pineapple. YUM!

Of course we had leftover pizza for lunch the next day!

Winter Tracking

Last Sunday we went for a winter tracking hike. The ground was covered in snow and there were tracks everywhere. We saw some animal "highways" going through the woods. We found some leading up to burrows and hollowed out logs. We brought along our animal tracks identification guide and looked up the tracks we saw. There were a lot of white-tailed deer, rabbits, raccoons... We brought the camera but when I went to take a picture I realized that the batteries needed replaced...and I didn't pack a charged set with us! Too bad, because we made the cutest little snowman on the side of the trail. We used natural items we found lying around for decorations. He had berry eyes, and stubby twig nose, mouth of a curled bumpy twig, hair made out of dried curly vines, and a spray of berries for a hair decoration. Oh yeah, and a long dried leaf for a scarf. The snow is all melted now!

Yesterday Georgia had her nature class and it was called "Winter Tracking". They learned more about tracking animals, including how to identify scat. They learned how to tell a story about the animal they tracked, and what it was doing or where it was going. She recieved a mammals of Ohio field guide to keep.

Yesterday we also went for a winter hike. No snow this time. We did find a lot of trash to pick up. We had a lot of strong winds recently, which is probably where most of the big trash came from. We also heard a lot of birds as we walked through the woods. It was a cold and overcast day, so we didn't stay out too long.

woodpecker drumming away

Completed Mummy

Georgia finished painting her papier-mâché mummy. The mummy wears an Ankh necklace like the one Georgia made for herself.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Last week Georgia started making a paper-mâché mummy! We found the idea in one of our library books, Make History: Ancient Egypt by Nancy Fister and Charlene Olexiewicz.

She started by making a cone shape out of newspaper. We cut it to measure about 8 inches tall. She told me that for measuring horses they use hands, and the adult hand is roughly 4 inches wide, so she used my hand and cut the top at 2 hands. We taped the cone and filled it with the newspaper we cut off. Then she crumpled newspaper into a ball and taped it on top to be the mummy's head. She also folded the point of the cone and taped it to look like the feet.

Next she made the flour and water glue mixture, using 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water.

And she wrapped her mummy using white paper strips dipped in the glue.

Here she sits drying. Georgia said it'll be a girl mummy.

We let the mummy dry overnight. The next day she drew a design and started painting. She still has more painting to do before her mummy is complete. I'll post pictures when it's finished.

Livy's nature class...

Olivia had her nature class on Thursday. A naturalist from a neighboring nature center visited and brought some birds with her. She taught the kids what physical features are found on birds, adaptations, behavior, etc. This class was a little shorter than usual. Her regular naturalist just had a baby and is off being a mom for the first time!

Janus, Februa, Mars...

On Groundhogs Day we watched this year's celebration as Punxsutawny Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. We were not impressed. I don't understand this "holiday". Weird I tell ya... We did learn that it is the exact middle of winter here in the northern hemisphere. That's interesting I guess.

That did, however, spark an interest in the origin of calendar names, which then sparked even more interest in the history of time keeping traditions. Here are some of the sites we visited:

Announcing the Sky Calendars through the Ages, astronomical origins, year, week, calendar name origins.

Walk Through Time From the National Institute of Standards and Technology, The evolution of time measurement through the ages.

Official US Time just click a time zone.

Calendar Origins "answers to many questions about calendars"

Current Moon Phase for the northern hemisphere. will be a full moon in a couple days.

Calendars: Counting the Days from the World Book Encyclopedia.

Physics Phun!

The girls have had fun playing the online physics puzzle game Fantastic Contraption. You have to build a contraption to move a pink circle into the goal. Each level is more challenging. It sparks some creative thinking. Click on the picture below to try it out!

Monday, February 2, 2009


After reading the news about Alaska's Redoubt Volcano on the brink of eruption, we did some further explorations on volcanoes.

We played with a virtual volcano, changing variables and seeing the effect it has on the eruption.

Learned more about volcanoes from FEMA...

and at National Geographic Kids.

And we watched the BrainPop video on volcanoes.

After that, the girls had fun playing with the variables of an avalanche and seeing the results on National Geographic's Unleash an Avalanche.


The girls played with their mini foosball game.

Georgia wanted to learn how to play snooker, so we looked it up on the Internet. We also watched some videos of snooker championships. Then her and Olivia tried it out, making some new rules for their game.

More Snow Fun

Olivia tried making a snowman. It kept falling over!

She had a lot of fun making snowballs and throwing them at me and Dad.

She helped Georgia work on another snow shelter.

Archaeology of Ohio

On Saturday, Mark and Georgia attended a lecture called Archaeology of Ohio. Author and editor Robert N. Converse shared his knowledge on the prehistoric cultures of Ohio, with a focus on artifacts and prehistory of our county. After the presentation, he offered to inspect any artifacts that we may have found, letting us know more about the pieces.

Georgia brought in her arrowhead that was found at her great grandmother's house.

She was told that her arrowhead was from the Archaic Period, and probably came from the Glacial Kame or Red Ocher cultures. He said it is about 5000 years old!!!

After returning home she told me all about the lecture. We searched the Internet to learn more about the Glacial Kame and Red Ocher cultures, the Archaic Period and looked at a virtual gallery on the First Ohioans.

She also watched some videos on making a stone age weapon, flintknapping stone age tools, and making a knife by flintknapping.

She also bought a dinosaur excavation activity from the gift shop. She needs to dig for the bones and then put the skeleton together. They are supposed to glow in the dark, too. She's found most of the bones, but still needs to put it together when she finds the rest.

Olivia worked on crystal mining.

We are still chipping away at the crystal mining block. It gets taken out from time to time. When all the rocks are free they can add them to their rock collections.