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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Backbone or NO Backbone? That is the question!

There is so much to discover in nature, even during winter. Just simply walking out the barn doors we found these beautiful ice designs all over the front deck. They were so intricate and unlike any other ice patterns I have seen. We paused to spend some time doing some "ice rubbings". They turned into great pieces of art!
This week's class focused on continuing to build on to our knowledge and understanding of sorting and grouping. To practice grouping in a more practical  application, we decided to build a fire to warm us on this chilly winter morning. In order to build the fire, we had to work together to collect three different sizes of wood: tinder- the thickness of a pencil, kindling- the thickness of our thumb, and fuel- the thickness of our wrists and larger. After collecting the wood, the class sorted the wood into their three respective groups, which we later turned into our fire tepee structure.
We made a couple pit stops along the hike, including the pond, which was completely frozen! We tried to imagine that we were fish hibernating at the bottom of the pond. Brr! We also stopped to count tree rings and sang a few songs on way down Sassafras!
After returning to the classroom, we learned that one of the major ways that scientist group the animal kingdom is by whether or not they have a backbone. Are they a Vertebrate or an Invertebrate? By sorting the animals by this criteria, scientist can take all the animals in the world and divide them into two simple groups. We practiced sorting animals during our exciting "Backbone or NO Backbone" relay race. 
We will spend time over the next couple months diving into these two groups and learning how they sort the animals into even smaller groups. Vertebrates tend to be sorted based on their body covering. To understand this concept a little better we started a project to introduce the five sub groups of Vertebrates and what their bodies are covered in. 
We will continue our project next week! 

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
-John Muir

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