Friday, August 15, 2008

Idea for preparing for a field trip and books on sharks and octopus.

Disclaimer: all of you home schooling moms and moms of older children probably know about this already but it was a new idea to me.

I have been a mom for over five years. We have taken many "field trips" to the zoo, the park, a lighthouse, waterfalls, science museum, etc. in those five years. For some reason it never occurred to me to check out books from the library to read with my children to prepare them ahead of time for our field trip.

I'm not sure what finally made me think of it. Maybe because this year I am home schooling William. Maybe I just had a moment of brilliance. = )

Regardless of why I thought of it, before we visited Mystic Aquarium in August I spent a little time in the non-fiction section of our local children's library. I came home with three books about different marine animals I knew we would see the following week.

The exhibits would have held their attention anyway but being able to connect what they were seeing with what they had recently read REALLY peaked their interest. When Will learned the soft rubbery thing he held in his hand at the Discovery Lab was a shark egg case, just like he'd read about, a hum-drum exhibit held new meaning. The lady in charge of the Lab quickly sent us to the other side of the room where egg cases displaying live, developing shark embryos could be viewed. I don't think William will soon forget that some sharks lay eggs!

It is exciting to witness your children in the process of learning and enjoying the experience!

Our library allows you to keep books for three weeks so I timed everything to have the books for a week after our field trip. I'm glad I did! Besides a book about sharks, I also checked out a book on seals. The aquarium only has sea lions but the book helped reinforce the information about the differences between seals and sea lions that we heard at the Aquarium.

In case you're interested the shark book I found is A Shark Pup Grows Up by Pam Zollman. This book contains lots of photographs of sharks. The wording is very simple and the vocabulary is defined for readers. I'd suggest this book for preschoolers through beginner readers. With only 24 pages it's a short book but packed with information.

I can't find the Seals book on-line so it may be out of print. Sorry about that.

The third book I brought home is Gentle Giant Octopus by Karen Wallace. Using iridescent watercolors the illustrator brings to life the story of a fictional female octopus as she lives her final days. The book reads like a work of fiction but is packed with information about the life cycle of a female giant octopus. I think the vocabulary and imagery is advanced enough to keep even upper elementary readers interested.

What activities do you do with your children to prepare them for a "field trip?"


Billie said...

pray that no one would have meltdowns on the forementioned "fieldtrip ;)

Kat said...

That is such an awesome idea! I will definitely remember that when I have kids.
What is the next field trip?

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Our next "field trip" is Jess's wedding in NY next week. Joel's taking Friday off and we're driving over, staying in a hotel, and hopefully enjoying the pool.

After that we'll probably go apple picking sometime in Sept. and again on Columbus Day. I've got home school ideas of a unit study on apples floating around in my head to go with our apple picking.

Kat said...

I always enjoyed learning about the star shape the seeds in the apple make. (We did this in Kindergarten and then we used the cut apples to stamp pictures).
Oh yeah, and my e-mail is
Thank you so much for those pics!

Alicia said...

I'm coming out of hiding! This is such a great idea. I haven't thought of it either and will try it next time! Some things we do: 1) Make a picture schedule of what we'll be doing (this is for T's transitions), but as he gets older, I'm adding words with the pictures. 2) Did I tell you I'm "homeschooling" him all month? Our MOPS playdates (2xWeek) are our "fieldtrips". One day I had a list that we took to the park, and his assignment was to take pictures of the items on the lis (obviously he loved this). Then we made a book from the pictures he took. 3) Another related thing we'll do is I'll have him see how many of certain items he can find on the trip. There seems to be lots of "less than" "more than" and bar graphs in the kindergarten material I have, so then we compare the amounts of the items he finds. I know it's all basic, but it's been fun!

Alicia said...
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