Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mini-Ant Lapbook

Holly put together a mini-lap book during her ant studies. We have made larger lap books, however this study really only required a small version. Still a very fun way to gather information we covered to review what she knows.

Her cover is a homemade ant she created. I didn't have the cover closed very well, so it looks a little funny in the photo - the legs do line up. The legs are all attached to the thorax, which is what she tried doing here. It looks cute when it is closed.

Then the inside of her lap book contains a little mini-book on predators of ants, ant body parts, facts about ants like that they have two stomachs, an ant has an exoskeleton, six legs, etc...

She also included a great diagram on an ant, externally and internally - she really enjoyed using this sheet to learn about ants.

The back cover she decided to include the ant life cycle and a little matchbook on various kind of ants. The matchbook ant book took six different kinds of ants and she had to write a fact about them, their diet and habitat. It was fun to really stop and review the knowledge we learned on ants and she loves to create little lap books - such a fun way to learn!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Ant Nest

Today we red through a great little book from National Geographic on ants called All About Ants, it was interesting! In this book we focused on their homes, how they work and how they look. We also looked through some other books for examples. Holly then described to me an ants nest and set off to draw one out.

She was sure to include the various chambers for food, eggs, sleeping and the queen ant. Holly actually did two different drawings until she was happy with the final product. She then sat down and walked me through her nest, how it was laid out and where the various chambers were. It turned out fantastic!

Monday, May 23, 2011


We are spending some time on ants - last week Holly enjoyed a great experiment, we looked for ants all weekend, she followed an ant, we have been reading some books on ants, watching a couple of short videos on ants and even enjoying an ant farm.

Holly got a neat little ant farm from good friends for her birthday, it has worked great with our insect studies! This little ant farm is wonderful and kind of unique in that their home is all gel - you can see right through it. The design is similar to one used with the space shuttle to study ants in space, in which they could not use a traditional ant farm as the tunnels would collapse. So, they created this gel home - the gel holds all the nutrients the ants need as well. It has been fascinating to watch the development of their tunnels and work. They are busy little things!

We are spending a bit more time on ants as I have some art projects planned, more books and she is creating a small lap book on ants too! I'll share the lapbook at a later date when it is all finished.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Outdoor Artist

Holly and I keep talking about doing more of her school work outdoors, embracing nice weather or even so-so weather. Today was a great day for it so she took her art outdoors.

I set up her easel, a chair, a work station and she chose her 'tools' for art. I put her facing her playhouse/garden area and asked her to use that for inspiration to create a some projects. She really, really enjoyed being out and having the freedom to create as she desired.

I'll have to set her up with a lot more outdoor learning opportunities now that comfortable weather is upon us.

Ant Experiment

Today Holly started a new insect study on ants. Since it is a lovely day out the first thing she did was set up a science experiment outdoors. The experiment calls for a small plate divided into eight sections. Each section has a small sample of different foods. She chose: banana, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, cheese, meat, cheerios and chocolate. Then we place it near an ant nest (ours is under the concrete with little entry spots) to see how the ants respond to the food offerings - if they are interested in anything, what will it be?

While she was setting this up I was trying to determine in my mind what the ants would be most partial to... boy was I wrong! Holly made the prediction that the ants would 'like all of it'. Hmm, I wonder what happened?

They went for the sunflower seeds.... carried them off to their little ant hole.

Down their hole it goes....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lady Bug Release

Today we met up with a group of home schoolers to release lady bugs at the park. Holly has done this a couple of times in the past and really enjoys this activity so I decided to plan this in conjunction with our planned insect unit. It was a hit, with all the kids! After releasing the lady bugs we all enjoyed a picnic lunch, play time at the park and a walk around the duck pond... in search of babies - we found some. The whole day was fantastic!!!

Lady Bug 'crafts'

I had picked up a couple of fun lady bug themed crafty items recently at the craft store knowing we would be starting with them soon. Today I let Holly go to town on them all - she painted a cute hand held lady bug mask, a sun catcher and created a little lady bug necklace. These were all simple and fun activities making our little lady bug unit just that much more fun!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rock Lady Bugs

We started our morning with some more fun lady bug work. After reading about several different kins of lady bugs and their differences/history Holly set out to create her own lady bugs on rocks. We found some smooth round stones in the yard, used acrylic paint and she painted her designs. When she was finished I did add a coat of clear sealer and set them out to dry in the garden. The turned out adorable!