Thursday, March 24, 2011

A purposeful trip to the zoo

After our outing to Orchestra Hall this morning, we at lunch at one of the kids favorite restaurnauts (that is not a misspelling. That is what they call them.) IKEA. Yes, really. IKEA. They love the meatballs. I love the bright, open cafeteria at IKEA. Who says homeschoolers don't eat in cafeterias?

After that, we went to the Zoo. Yes, a full day, but we had a lab to do for R.E.A.L. Science that involved going to the Zoo. I figured half the day was shot with the trip downtown for the concert (half hour there, 2 hours there, half hour home, three hours, the better part of the morning), we likely wouldn't get much done the rest of the day anyway, so might as well make it productive somehow. So to the zoo it was.

We started learning about mammals this week. The first lab in R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey has to do with descriptive names of animals. Our mission was to find as many animals with descriptive names as possible. We got bonus points if it was a mammal, and mega bonus points if we caught a mammal doing what only mammals can do, nursing young. Before we even started, Kiddo went through the list of mammals he knew had babies currently at the zoo--the snow monkey, the dolphin, and the other monkey (De Brazza's Monkey). He was determined to get the bonus points. Guess going to the zoo a zillion times this winter has benefits.

We only went through the tropics trail and the aquarium, we were exhausted by then. But we were able to find 29 animals with descriptive names--Red-ruffed Lemurs, Ring-Tailed Lemurs, Pipefish, Leafy Sea Dragons, and Asian Forest Tortoises, to name a few.

Love the Leafy Sea Dragons.

The De Brazza's Monkey isn't far into the Tropics Trail, so it was the first baby mammal we came across. The baby monkey is getting bigger, so it wasn't just clinging to the mother like it had been the past few times we saw it. It was fun to see the baby out exploring, but Kiddo REALLY wanted to see a baby nursing. Given that the other babies we might see are older, we waited. And waited. And waited. And finally. FINALLY! We saw it. Good thing, too, since we didn't see any of the other babies we thought we might.

Finally, you can see just how different the baby looks! That is an older sibling. The baby is starting to get a beard, like the adults, but is still a very different color.

Only 17 of the 29 descriptive names we found were mammals, which gave us the opportunity to figure out what they were given what we have learned.


Given it is Spring Break time for public schools, the zoo was a little crowded. We got a couple of odd looks when we were filling out forms for the lab, but it didn't curb the kids enthusiasm at all. R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey really is a fun curriculum, if I can just get myself geared up to actually do the labs!

Our zoo has a great deal of construction happening at our zoo, which is great. We'll soon have penguins, very exciting. We will also have a new reptile and amphibian area, which the kids are really looking forward to. In the meantime, we have construction. And exhibits like this:

How would you classify this animal? (I got a LOT of strange looks from people as I took this picture--crazy lady taking pictures of a ladder?)

Oh, and remember the upside down fish? It was back.


MissMOE said...

This sounds like an awesome lab!

schmobes said...

It was an awesome lab. The kids LOVED it!