H-Man is in the middle of saying "DUDE". LOL!!
About a week ago my husband walked in the door with a new learning tool – A set of traps. The catch and release type, great for animal observations. Boys being boys, the first animal they wanted to trap was our dog. For obvious reasons, I did not allow that to happen. Over the course of a week I heard the boys discussing what types of animals they wanted to trap until they settled on squirrels.
So this week we are learning about squirrels. On Thursday, using our new found knowledge, we will set the trap and see what happens.
We started by discussing ways of learning about squirrels. This is what my children came up with:
Watching them (observation)
Looking it up on the computer
Reading a book about them
Going to the library
Asking a museum worker at the Virginia Living Museum
Not bad for a set of 5 year olds!
Picture courtesy of Tim Knight
Monday we started our research. The book we used had a little map next to each species and the boys used the maps to figure out which squirrel was the most likely to live here (You know I can connect ANYTHING to geography!!) We discovered the the squirrel most likely to live here is the Eastern Gray Squirrel. We also learned what they like to eat : Nuts, seeds,flowers, fruits, buds and fungi. I had the boys write this down, and then we found a picture of an Eastern Gray Squirrel to compare to the ones we see outside.
Boys comparing image of squirrel to real squirrels in the yard.
We headed outside and guess what we found? NO SQUIRRELS. The boys and I thought about this and decided that we should ask our neighbor if we could look in her backyard since her yard is more wooded than ours. Guess what we found there? NO SQUIRRELS. This made my boys start to wonder if squirrels were nocturnal or diurnal? Their words not mine. A few hours later our neighbor came and told us her backyard was full of squirrels. We headed over to observe the rodents with our nature journals in tow and cameras at the ready.
The observation time lead to a few questions about squirrels and some drawings (they are only starting to read and write so they documented their observations in pictures).
Homeschooling at its best!
H-man wanted to know: Why do they climb in high trees? When do they sleep? and Do they eat acorns? He drew a picture of a squirrel sitting on a fence.
Tone-Tone wanted to know: What do they eat? When do they sleep? and Are they shy? He drew a picture of a squirrel climbing up a tree.
My own observation: not all the squirrels were Eastern Gray Squirrels. Some of them had red tails. hmmmm
Tuesday we researched on the internet; we were looking for answers to Monday’s questions. What we found out was:
Squirrels are opportunistic eaters, so along with all the normal foods they eat they’ll also eat insects and frogs if they are really hungry.
Needless to say my boys hung on to the frog eating and that is what made it into their nature journals for the day. Squirrels are in fact diurnal (except for the flying squirrel) and so they sleep at night like we do. (So where were the squirrels when we originally went looking for them? Maybe that’ll be the next thing we research). They climb in high trees for protection from predators. As for being shy, they aren’t really shy as much as fearful if they aren’t accustomed to people.
Some pictures the boys took themselves:
Tree in our yard where squirrels live.
Holes made by Squirrels
Through the week we’ll do more research, then later in the week I’ll update you on how our first attempt at catching an animals goes. Wish us luck!!!!
UPDATE: Caught a squirrel! But the sucker won’t sit still long enough to get a good picture of it. So all I have a bunch of pictures with a blur across them. So no picture to share. Sorry.