Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Cross Spider

The Cross Spider or Garden Spider, can you see why?

We couldn't identify what it was eating

but when a stick fell in it's web it went right to it

and proceeded to disengage it 

then toss it out of it's web.  Very efficient.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Science Lessons Naturally

This past weekend we were packing up ready to leave a family reunion.  I saw my parents and the rest of my family behind a truck talking to someone. When I came out of the cabin again my mother was waving me to come. I always obey my mom, so down the road I went.

The camp professes to have no dangerous wildlife. If there is a situation where a bear fails to read the no trespassing sign, the trapper on staff quickly removes the threat. The government also uses his services and recently requested him to take some pesky beavers out from a cottager's vicinity because they had the nerve to start making a dam in preparation for their young and protection from the winter.
So there they were, two dead beavers lying on the road behind the truck at the back of the camp property.

Jim was talking passionately about the animals; how they are monogamous and how they want and need just the one home. He explained how the fur used in coats is not taken from a whole animal;  the grade of fur around the neck is of the highest quality then the next section below that is of a little lesser grade and the bottom section is much coarser. When you purchase a beaver article it would be made of many strips from the same part of many beavers and the quality would depend on which section of strips made your coat.

Jim sharing his passion about the wildlife in the area

Jim told us that beaver meat, pound for pound was the highest nutrition for bears bulking up for winter and that the secret to the best show dogs was that they were fed beaver meat. If hunters wish to garner the highest profit and least waste from each animal, they can sell the fur on a tanned hide, the castors and the scent glands and even the beaver tails can be tanned and used as a wallet or small satchel.

Jim was going to drop these beavers in the woods for the bears.  He looked at me incredulously as I asked him if I could have the beaver tails but he obliged and hacked both off and I took them home in my suitcase. Right now they are in the fridge but will go in the freezer until a family friend comes over to help me clean and tan the tails.

Science lessons do not always happen in scheduled blocks of time.  Take advantage of a passionate hunter who willingly and eagerly shares his knowledge.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Science, Fabre and Charlotte Mason

(Science's) textbook usually presents a devitalized science - only a genius can write a scientific book that throbs with life and is still scientific. Read Fabre's descriptions of insect life, those fascinating stories from which one has to tear one's self away, and compare that description of the same insect in a textbook of biology - the one is a living story of living creatures, the other a lifeless account of dead, dissected things.
  D. Avery, The Cultural Value of Science, Parents Review, volume 31, no. 9.  edited by Charlotte Mason.

This sums up my intention for this blog.  How can we learn science in a way that is throbbing with life?  Jean Henri Fabre wrote living stories.  Charlotte Mason, a 20th century British educator, stated that 'all thought we offer to our children shall be living thought; no mere dry summaries of facts will do; given the vitalizing idea, children will readily hang the mere facts upon the idea as upon a peg capable of sustaining all that it is needful to retain.' (2/227) Those ideas are introduced first through living books.

be-like-Fabre:  books that throb with life, persons that observe keenly and learn.