Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Blubber and How big is it???

We went to a unit study on Oceans and Whales at our friend Marie's house yesterday. She talked about the oceans in the world, the depths, different types of animals in them. The kids had a yummy snack with blueberry jello and gummy fish in it. We also did a blubber experiment. The children were asked to put their hands in a pail of ice cold water. Brrrr! It was cold! Then Marie had prepared some plastic baggies, doubled, with vegetable shortening between the baggies. She had the kids put their hands in them (like gloves) and resubmerge their hands in the icey water. They were amazed to find that their hands stayed warm. She then explained how whales stay warm by having a protective layer of blubber, or fat on them. They got to see how big a Blue whale is (500 ft) measured out with a piece of rope, which Marie had pre-labeled with all the various lengths of sea mammals (whales) in comparison to a 6 ft man, so the children could see how long they actually are. We were amazed to see that the Blue Whale extended from one side of the cul-de-sac to the other end. The kids had fun drawing the whales in chalk next to the measured tags. Marie asked the older kids to make up a story about the Ocean. So, on the way home Violet was excited to make one up, and told me a story about a mermaid and her ocean friends. We'll have to write it down so that she can share it with her friends. By the way, you see Violet in her "Groovy Girl" outfit. We went by Kmart to buy some wild birdseed, and found they had a rack of Halloween clothes in the garden dept (of all places) on sale for %90 off!!!! So she got this one and a mermaid outfit. Olivia got a black knight outfit, complete with sword and breastplate and shield and another one in brown. I've probably mentioned she has a fascination with swords in the past. It was so funny during the unit study, we she got her chalk, the first thing she says is, "I'm going to draw a swordfish, mommy!"


(Having trouble uploading from Flicker right now, so will post pictures later, but check out my Flicker for photos, under science unit studies)

Marie provided me with the list of resources she used:
Non-fiction:
1) Ocean Life, the publisher is Backpack Books with an arrangement with Orpheus BooksLtd. Text by Nicholas Harris. This book has two panorama type scenes to unfold. Lots of good info too.
2) Whales: Strange and WonderfulAuthor: Laurence PringleTalks about different types of whales including the narwhale, orca,sperm, and more. Also talks about echolocation, baleen, etc.
3) Coral Reef, Author: Barbara TaylorGreat book that tells about and shows different animals that live in acoral reef. It's a DK book with beautiful pics.
4) Killer Whales, Author: Dorothy Hinshaw PatentLots of good info specifically about killer whales.
5) Whales: The Gentle GiantsAuthor: Joyce MiltonThis is a "Step into Reading" book, step 2, grades 1-3. It has similar information as the other books above, but written so children might be able to read it themselves. It has bigger letters and fewer words on a page than adult books.

Fiction:
1) The True Story of Corky, the Blind Seal Author: Georgeanne Irvine Story about a rescued seal who goes blind. Very nice story too.
2) Shamu and the Adventurous Seal Pup Author: Mark ShulmanThis story is for younger kids, but it's a good one. Introduces some of the marine animals at Sea World. Most pages even have a "hidden"picture to find.

Thanks Marie!

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