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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nim's Island Activities - Chapters 5&6

~ Endangered Green Sea Turtles ~

Animals are irresistible, and the fantasy of becoming close friends with a sea turtle has captivated my daughter.  She has been on her belly in the middle of my living room playing with her tiny turtle figurines all week.  

She started this game after we first read this week's chapters of Nim's Island.  It begins with Chica the green sea turtle returning to lay her eggs.  
"Nim squatted beside her, watching quietly in the darkness and wiping away sand from the turtle's watery eyes, until the hole was just as deep and wide as it needed to be."
 Wouldn't you love to live like Nim too? 
No, those aren't the tiny turtles on my living room floor (obviously).  This photo was taken at the Boston Museum of Science's "Crittercam" exhibit during our vacation last week.  It was fascinating!  It is a traveling display, so if you have any chance to see it in your area, go.  

Our primary video link for this lesson came from PBS Kids (we also saw a Britannica clip and this one showing a turtle hatch).  It energetically shows two young boys assisting researchers studying baby sea turtle survival rates in Florida.  The boys dig up the nests from which most of the turtles have already hatched, collect the live turtles remaining, and count the remaining deceased turtles and shells.  

We took the idea from the video and created our own turtle research experiment.  I put a few turtle toys inside old plastic easter eggs along with many empty shells and then hid the entire nest.  Some turtles were labeled as "dead" by putting black x's over the eyes with tape.   The kids were sent off to search for the hidden turtle clutch and they happily bounced  throughout the house exploring possible locations for the eggs.  After it was found they documented the location that they found the nest and then worked together to discover how many babies had survived.  

We created sweet turtle clutches for our notebooks by stapling a sanding disk to our page.  On top we glued "Chica" and below the flap they pasted the turtle eggs.  Later we will add a few elements that we found in HSS' sea turtle unit  and in this fun activity book.
The salt dough islands that we made last week were finally completed today.  We made small boats out of folded tin foil, and used quilting pins and a small triangle of paper to make the sail.  We then added Jack by coloring a toothpick with markers.  Around the boat the kids placed dots of glow-in-the-dark paint for the bioluminescent plankton that Jack was studying.  

We also made a tiny Nim out of a toothpick.  We drew on a small face, colored her clothing, and then dipped the top in rubber cement and pressed a tiny amount of cotton on the top for her "wild hair."   Our maps were originally mounted on foam board, so we attached the figures by simply pressing the pins and picks into the foam.

I was going to have them add a small compass rose to their maps, but I forgot - there is always next week.
Oh, and remember that painting that I was worried about last week?  Well I decided to skip it.  The group used markers to add the most important elements, like the volcano and garden, but I waited until later in the day to let my own kid paint.  As it was, I somehow ended up with 12 paintbrushes to wash.   That's enough for me.
Want to share our Nim's Island adventure? Join our Flickr pool to allow your kids to join in the discussion, and share their own photos and videos.

1 comment:

Doris said...

I wish I could be little and in your class instead of a grown up and at work. The kids are having fun and learning at the same time.