Thursday, June 27, 2019

Critter Camp (Week 2) - Water

During the second week of Critter Camp, we had old and new faces come to the Bean Museum to learn about water animals. First, we talked about how water covers the majority of the earth, and how there is fresh and saltwater ecosystems. We started with saltwater and colored pictures of fish while we learned the different parts that they have. Next, we watched a video to see how fish swim and did a fish dance around classroom! We also learned about deep sea fish and how some of them use their light to lure prey. We played red light green light with a flashlight to help teach the kids about angler fish. After fish, we learned about sharks and stingrays. We used paper plates, googly eyes, and crayons to make our own stingrays! The kids had so much fun creating and coloring their paper plate rays.

Next we learned about sea creatures without bones. We talked about octopuses, jellyfish, and learned how hermit crabs leave their shell to find a bigger one! We also talked about sea mammals and how their blubber keeps them warm in the cold oceans. We went outside and did an activity to learn more about blubber. The kids put baggies over their hands and then put them in a bowl filled with ice. After they felt how cold the ice was, they put their hands in again, but this time they put their hands in a baggie filled with shortening and they couldn’t feel the cold anymore! We can’t forget about the sea turtles! We learned how sea turtles come to land to lay their eggs and once the eggs hatch, the baby sea turtles crawl to the ocean. We went outside for this activity and the kids looked for baby sea turtles at the bottom of some bedding. Once they found their sea turtle, they ran through an obstacle course of crabs to make it to the ocean. 

Lastly, we learned about freshwater animals. We talked about how places like lakes, ponds, and rivers are called wetlands. One freshwater animal we talked about were turtles. We learned the different parts of their shells and how their webbed feet help them swim in the water. We even brought out one of our live turtles so the kids could see the different parts up close. Next we talked about how almost all water animals have webbed feet. We went outside for an activity to help us better understand this concept. We had the kids try to move ping pong balls floating in a pool filled with water with just their fingers. After a few attempts, we told the kids to put baggies on their hands and try again. They were able to move the ping pong balls much more easily! For our last activity, we combined all the things we learned and went on a water animal scavenger hunt around the museum. Once the kids found the correct animal, they received a sticker!

Thursday was our field trip day, and the kids came to the Bean Museum ready for an adventure! Our first stop was at a wetland area near Heber City. We walked along a boardwalk while we looked for water animals. We saw Red-Winged Black Birds, lots of ducks, and even an Osprey! We also saw other water animals like dragonflies and fish. On our way back to the vans, one of the kids noticed a bird nest and it had baby chicks inside! Once we got back to the vans, we ate our snack, and headed back to the museum for a bathroom break and to fill up our water bottles. Our second location was the BYU botany pond. Each child received a baggie with chopped grapes to feed the ducks. We saw many turtles and some female ducks who had chicks following them around! It was a great end to our water week of Critter Camp.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Critter Camp (Week 1) - Land Animals

The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum kicked off the start of summer the first week of June with Critter Camp. Kindergartners and first graders came to the museum to learn about the many different animals that live on our planet. The first week of Critter Camp, we learned about land animals. The kids learned how different land animals eat, move, and use their senses to survive through games and activities.

For our first round of activities, the kids learned the different ways land animals can eat their food. The different eating strategies include scavenging and digging for food, scooping up food with a beak, sucking up food, and catching food with a sticky tongue! To imitate and get a better understanding of these eating strategies the kids scavenged for sticker animals in paper bedding, sucked up M&M’s with straws and moved them into a cup, picked up chickpeas with tweezers, and caught paper flies with sticky hands!

For the second round of activities, the kids learned about the different senses land animals use to survive in their environments. These senses included touch, sound, sight, and smell. To learn about these different senses, we felt inside mystery boxes using our sense of touch to discover what was inside, listened to different animal sounds, compared pictures of how humans see things to how animals see things and met a live lizard, snake, and tarantula to learn about the different ways land animals can smell.

Finally, to end our first day of Critter Camp we learned about the different ways land animals move. As a group, we slithered like snakes, galloped liked horses, climbed like monkeys, waddled like penguins, and hopped like kangaroos. To master these different movements each child took a turn acting out a movement while everyone else had to guess what animal they were moving like. The kids went home with lots of new knowledge about land animals and the fun prizes they earned throughout the day. 

On the second day of Critter Camp- land edition, we went exploring! The kids were troopers as we hiked up Rock Canyon and Big Springs Trail in Provo, in search of land animals. While hiking we were able to find a deer, a squirrel, and lots of different insects. Jonas, one of our amazing educators also found a snake that we were all able to look at! When we discovered a new animal the kids were able to draw and color our findings in their own field guides! We returned home tired but happy with the discoveries we had made!