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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nim's Island Activities - Chapters 9&10

~Bioluminescent Plankton~

Well, it has been a hard week here in our house.  I have had some pretty severe hip problems that we still haven't completely figured out (not a pinched nerve, not a broken bone, not a hernia), but thankfully with medication the pain is tolerable now.  On top of that, our family has come down with a doozy of a stomach virus.  Don't even ask how far behind I am with the housework.  

Despite our physical struggles, the kids were begging to do our Nim's projects today even thought their friends couldn't join us, so we charged ahead.  
In our family the Five in a Row book "Night of the Moonjellies" is always a favorite, so the topic of bioluminescence (literally translated living-light) has come up before.  It is amazing what big concepts kids can pick up from simple books.  We began our day by re-reading "Moonjellies" and then chapters 9 & 10 of Nim's Island.  The kids caught on quickly and pointed out the connection in chapter 10 when Jack says in his letter that the plankton "put on a great show last night."  (I just love it when they lead the lessons that I had already planned)  

I asked if they knew what plankton are.  They made a few cute guesses including "little teeny tiny animals, smaller than my fingernail, even half of it, even smaller than that!"  I showed them the photos that I found (several pages down) in this lesson plan from UCLA, and we discussed the many different types of plankton.

I explained to the kids that some, not all, plankton are bioluminescent.  We watched an intelligent design presentation by David Gallo, as well as What You Ought To Know (this one is geared toward a 3 year old).  

Just by chance, I found a package of 15 glow sticks at the craft store last week in the dollar section.  The kids had fun guessing how they work, and then breaking the inside compartment to allow the chemicals to mix.  They entertained me by running around in the dark pretending to be plankton.  Afterward we watched Seth's Super Science Show, which is quite long, but hilarious, and he explained the correlation.  
Inspired by Seth's great rendition of the bioluminescent version of the Beachboys "Surfin' USA" we searched for more songs.  We found this cute one with a video, and also a radio show by Earthwatch.  

Our craft was to draw our own personified plankton with google eyes.  Any craft with google eyes is a hit here.  My oldest tried to copy the illustration in the book, but decided that Protozoan Nim wasn't swirly enough so she "fixed it."  I wonder how Kerry Millard would feel about that.
If everyone had been feeling well, we may have played this fun bioluminescent tag game, or made plankton nets like the ones shown here, but I think we will save it for another time.  Time for a nap in our house.

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.


Dana @ Our Sunny Side said...

What wonderful resources you provided! Thanks so much.

Wishing you strength and pain-free days!

Viktoria said...

You are so cool and fun!