Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Preschool Biology (grades PreK-Kindergarten)

Supplies Needed: A notebook to become the student's Science Journal. You may also keep a separate nature journal, but I think it is fine to include them both in one science journal.

Weeks 1 and 2: Living vs. Non-living or The Criteria for Life
This photo is from when we did this simulation in 11/2008

  1. Take a nature walk at least once a week, but as often as possible. A small walk each day, with one longer walk once a week is ideal. As Charlotte Mason herself says, “It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson, since a very efficient field trip may be made during the ten or fifteen minutes at recess, if it is well planned.” For your first Nature Walk, see what interests your student. You may want to follow the guidelines of the Outdoor Hour Challenge #1 Let’s Get Started! at Handbook of Nature Study blog. 
  2. Anyone can tell that a book is not alive, that is true, but it is important to lay the groundwork for the four criteria for life. Go over each of the criteria, one per day, beginning with Living things reproduce.  Speak to your student using simple wording and examples. You will be going over this concept again as the student gets older with the language and examples becoming more complex as the student gets older.
  3. All life forms contain DNA.
  4. Living things eat, drink and grow.
  5. Living things sense things and react to changes in their surroundings, including moving.
  6. Check your student's understanding of what makes something a living creature by asking a few questions.
  7. For your student's second nature walk, have your student pick something to include in his journal and have him write a few words in his journal about what he experienced. If you student is having difficulty with this, you can follow along with the Outdoor Hour's Getting Started Challenges found at the Handbook of Nature Study blog. Challenge #2 helps guide the student to choose words to put in his journal. 
  8. Begin to point out the differences between plants and animals, such as the fact that plants make their own food using water, air and sunshine, whereas animals must eat plants or animals or both.

Weeks 2 and 3: Garden Mural Project: Flowers

  1. Obtain a very large piece of paper or tape several pieces together in order to get a wall-sized mural. Have your student paint the background brown on the lower half for the ground level and blue on the upper half for sky.
  2. Learn about the parts of flowers while making the blossoms from paper plates and stems, leaves and other parts from colored construction paper. “All the names should be taught gradually by constant unemphasized use on the part of the teacher; and if the child does not learn the names naturally then do not make him do it unnaturally.”-Handbook of Nature Study, page 456
  3. Sunflowers
  4. Glue cornmeal to the appropriate part of the paper flower in order to represent pollen. 
  5. Have your student plant sunflower seeds in plastic cups. Have your student observe and sketch the plant's development regularly in his science journal. Be sure to include the dates. (See the Handbook of Nature Study blog's Outdoor Hour Challenge #16: Growing Sunflowers.)
  6. During this week's nature walk, look for some garden flowers in your own yard or neighborhood. Start to use the correct labels for the plant parts that you learned. Give an opportunity for a journal entry. You may want to use the guidelines at the Handbook of Nature Study blog's Outdoor Hour Challenge #13: Flower Parts.
  7. vocabulary: dormant, migration and hibernation
Weeks 3, 4, 5 and 6: Insects/Bees

  1. What insects live in a particular location. Make a can trap to capture the insects of a particular location, a part of your backyard, for example. Punch holes in the bottom of an empty, clean can. This will make sure that the can does not fill up with water if it rains. Dig a can-sized hole in the location of your choice and place the can in the hole so that its top is at ground level. Put some food for the insects in the can, such as fruit or meat. Cover the top of the can with a board, and put rocks around the edges of the board to life it a few inches from the ground. Check the can regularly and identify the insects that come to your can. Have your student count the number of each type of insect and record all of this in his science journal.
  2. Learn about the parts of an insect. Lead the student to identify the three body segments common to all insects: head, thorax and abdomen. Most adult insects have wings. Have your student make some aphids out of construction paper and put them on the leaves of the flowers he has made. Study the different mouthparts of insects. 
  3. Have your student make a paper adult butterfly. Fold a piece of construction paper in half. Open the paper and lay it flat on the table. Cut out a butterfly shape. Have student paint details of the butterfly on one side and fold the paper over again. When the butterfly is completed, both sides of the butterfly are exactly the same. They are symmetrical, mirror images of each other. Discuss the concept of symmetry.
  4. For this week's nature walk, encourage your child to look for insects. Take an insect field guide with you on a nature walk. Help the student look for and identify insects that you find. What physical characteristics do all insects have in common? Have the student draw a picture of the insect with every feature that makes an insect and insect. Allow the student to refer to the field guide to make an accurate drawing of the insect. Encourage the student to add the natural environment in which the insect was observed. Write any of the student's comments on the page. Learn basic information about insects through various resources (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 9 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.) 
  5. Many adult insects have compound eyes. Compound eyes are made up of thousands of tiny separate lenses that work together to complete a picture. Notice the eyes in the insects you find and record on your nature walks.
  6. All insects have a tough, shell-like outer covering called an exoskeleton. As an insect grows, it sheds or molts one hard shell that is replaced by another. Point this out for observation on your next nature walk.
  7. Cut out seven circles, nine squares and seven hexagonal shapes out of yellow construction paper. Allow the student to explore which cell shape is the most efficient building block for a beehive. The cells should fit together without wasted space. Lead the student to the conclusion that the hexagon's six-sided shapes are best because they fit the bee's body shape and fit snugly together.
  8. Have your student make a bee hive out of a paper bag for our mural. Use egg cartons for the honeycomb.
  9. Talk about bee stings and what is the best behavior for a person near a bee. 
  10. For your next nature walk, focus on your student drawing a sketch in his science journal of a bee or other insect in his science journal. If your student is having difficulty with this, you can follow along with the Outdoor Hour's Getting Started Challenges found at the Handbook of Nature Study blog. Challenge #3 helps guide the student to draw in his journal and #27 focuses on Bees.
  11. Make out of paper and add a Queen Bee and Worker Bees. Review the parts of insects and compare them to the aphids. 
  12. Newly hatched bees work inside the hive first, keeping the hive warm, making wax and feeding the larvae. 
  13. Look at real honeycomb from a jar and taste the honey.
Weeks 7, 8, 9 and 10: Insects/Ants and Bees

  1. Ants and Bees are both social insects. Research and discuss social insects. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 11 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.) Make ants to add to your garden out of black construction paper.
  2. Have your student write about one species of ant or draw and describe an ant colony in his science journal. 
  3. Buy an ant colony kit or make one in a glass jar. Have the student fill a large glass jar full of dirt and tape dark construction paper around it. 
  4. For this week's nature walk, focus on finding and observing ants. You can follow the guidelines at the Handbook of Nature Study blog, Outdoor Hour Challenge, Ant Study. Look for an ant hill, and observe the ants coming and going on the hill. Discuss what they are doing. Carefully dig up the ant hill, including the surrounding dirt and place it all in the jar you have prepared. Place wet piece of cotton on the dirt and keep it damp to provide moisture for the ants. The ants may be fed by adding ant food or tiny table scraps twice weekly. Make holes in the lid and secure. To observe the ants, remove the dark paper. Have the student draw a picture of what he sees.
  5. Most insects have two antennae. The antennae are used to feel and smell and sometimes taste and hear. Ants and bees rely more on their sense of smell than their sight to tell who belongs in their colony. Give everybody in the family (or group of friends) cups with cotton balls - half scented with strawberry extract and half with vanilla extract. The strawberry scent represented the ants and the vanilla represented the bees. Have one student play the role of the sentry bee of the bee hive was responsible for letting in the bees (vanilla scented cotton balls) and stinging the ants (strawberry scented cotton balls). 
  6. Have your student make paper tunnels and chambers and have your student add this to the mural.
  7. The hungry ants go searching for food and sometimes invade a beehive because they smell the sweet honey. They try to get in to get the honey but the hive's sentry bees won't let them. 
  8. The foraging ants can discover aphids on the flowers. Make paper aphids to put on the paper plants. Ants love to get honeydew that the aphids excrete from their bodies, and the aphids like the protection the ants can give.
  9. When a scout bee finds a good source of nectar, it dances a special figure 8 dance. The more rapid the dance, the nearer the food. The angle of the dance indicates the relationship of the nectar to the sun. Have the student pretend to be a bee that has just found a garden full of flowers containing nectar. Place a picture of a flower somewhere in the room and have the student do a dance of body language to show another student or family member where they can find the flower. Make sure the student knows he cannot point or look at the flower picture. 
  10. Once bees are old enough, they follow the forager bees' instructions to find flowers and gather nectar and pollen. After having your paper bees visit the paper flowers on the mural, add pollen bags (of construction paper) on the back legs of our bees and glue pollen (cornmeal) to them, simulating the pollen they would have picked up from visiting the flowers.
  11. On this week's nature walk, have the student begin a list in his science journal of all the insects he finds and identifies. He may add to this list each week. (See Handbook of Nature Study blog's Outdoor Hour Challenge #5.)
  12. Give your student the seven hexagons that you made week 3. Have him write a fact about bees on each hexagon and then glue the hexagons together in his science journal to make a honeycomb.
Weeks 11, 12, 13 and 14: Insects/Butterflies and Metamorphosis
  1. Explain that every insect begins life as an egg. The growth time from egg to adult may vary from a few days to 17 years! Most insects follow one of three patterns of growth and development: simple growth and development, incomplete metamorphosis and complete metamorphosis. Have resources for your student about insect life cycles. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 10 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.) Simple Growth and Development: Show pictures of a silverfish and springtail in the field guide. These are wingless insects and they grow and develop in three stages: 1. an adult lays an egg, 2. it hatches and looks like a small adult, 3, it's looks don't change as it grows and molts and it reaches adulthood with almost no change. Look for these insects in your nature walks.
  2. Incomplete Metamorphosis: Look up grasshoppers, mayflies, roaches, damselflies, dragonflies or cicadas. They go through an incomplete metamorphosis: 1. An adult lays an egg, 2. A nymph that hatches from the egg looks much like the adult but wingless, 3. The adult comes of to the last most with wings. Look for these insects in their various stages on your nature walks.
  3. Look at pictures of butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, bees, wasps or ants. These insects grown and develop in a complete metamorphosis: 1. An adult insect lays an egg, 2. A larva hatches that looks completely different from the adult, 3. After the larva is grown, it turns into a pupa. 4. The winged adult emerges from the pupa. It appears completely different from earlier stages. Make butterflies from construction paper.
  4. Find resources, read about the Order Lepidoptera and discuss what is learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 14 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  5. On this week's nature walk, look for moths and butterflies. Begin making your own Insect Field Guide, like the DIY Bird Field guide at the Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Hour Challenge #7.
  6. Have your students glue eggs (navy beans) to leaves of the paper flower he has made to represent the adult butterfly laying eggs on the leaves.
  7. The larva of butterflies are called caterpillars (larvae of flies are called maggots, larvae of beetles are called grubs, larvae of mosquitoes are called wigglers, etc.) Make caterpillars from construction paper. 
  8. The pupa of a butterfly is called a chrysalis. Make an oval pocket to represent the chrysalis out of construction paper. Sponge paint to add texture. 
  9. While your student isn't looking, slip their butterflies into the chrysalis pockets and tape them shut. Let your student help the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis.
  10. Butterfly Metamorphosis
  11. On a paper plate or piece of paper, have your student draw the arrows of the butterfly's life cycle, leaving a space for the four states between the arrows. Have your student glue dried beans to the plate for the eggs, spiral pasta for the larva, shell pasta for the pupa and bow tie pasta for the adult butterfly. Add leaves, a branch and paint to finish.
  12. On this week's nature walk, bring along a magnifying glass to look at the insects. You may want to follow the guidelines outlined at the Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Hour Challenge #8, Up Close and Personal.
  13. Optionally, obtain a butterfly raising kit or bring home caterpillars to raise to adulthood. Make sure you know and have access to a supply of the caterpillar's chosen food. If you decide to do this, have your student keep note of observations in his science journal. Entries should be kept most days, noting changes that occur as the larva changes into the chrysalis and then into an adult butterfly. Tell him to draw pictures and record color, shape, size, texture and position of each stage. Encourage him to ask questions.
  14. Hungry butterflies go right to the flowers to gather nectar. Have your students drink nectar (juice) with probiscus (straws.)
  15. Learn how butterflies avoid predators. We learned that many butterflies have large circles of color on their wings called "eye spots." They are called that because they look like eyes of a large creature, like an owl, to a bird who might otherwise be a predator to the butterfly. This scares the birds away. Have your student add colored circles to his paper butterfly.
  16. Compare butterflies and moths. Make a Venn diagram in his science journal. (Butterflies fly during the day, have knobs at the end of their antennae, have thin, hairless bodies, rest with their wings held upright, etc. Moths fly at night, their antennae are not knobbed, have, plump, furry bodies and rest with their wings spread, etc.)
  17. For this week's nature walk, have your student rope off a small square of his backyard to observe what insects can be found in that area. You can use the guidelines Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Hour Challenge #9, One Small Square.
Week 15: Insects/Helpful and Harmful Insects

  1. Learn about the damage that insects can do.  Loosened some of the tape that held the flowers on the mural, to make them "wilt" to represent the damage that aphids can do.
  2. Learn about helpful insects. Make paper ladybugs to eat the aphids. Fold a round shaped piece of paper in half and put dots of black paint on one half. Fold over again and the identical spots will appear on the other side. Discuss symmetry.
  3. On this week's nature walk, look for ladybugs and aphids (you may want to use the guidelines from the Handbook of Nature Study blog's Outdoor Hour Challenge #26.)
  4. Discuss and have your student make one list telling how insects are helpful and another telling how they are harmful.
  5. Read about beetles, flies and true bugs and discuss what is learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 12 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.) 
  6. On the next nature walk, take along a picnic to enjoy (see the guidelines Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Hour Challenge #10:Picnic.) See if your student can find a beetle, fly or true bug on the nature walk.
Week 16 and 17: Spiders
  1. Teach the difference between an insect and a spider, by counting their legs (8, not 6) and body parts (2, not 3). Make a paper spider to add to your mural.
  2. For this week's nature walk, look for spiders and their webs. You may want to follow the guidelines at The Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Hour Challenge, Webs of All Kinds.
  3. Look at a variety of spider web designs. Place a sheet of waxed paper over the final web design. Secure the waxed paper to the background with tape. Using liquid glue on the waxed paper, have the student trace the web design. The glue should be in a continuous bead with not spaces. Let the glue dry overnight, Peel away the waxed paper, keeping the web of glue in one piece. Hang the web between two sticks or add it to your mural.
  4. Have your student select one type of spider to learn about and write a short report about it, including illustrations. (A good resource for this is chapter 13 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  5. A Ground Spider uses a depression in the ground and, covering the hole with leaves and twigs, traps an unsuspecting insect as it falls through. You may make one of these, using a brad to make a door that can swing back and forth.
  6. Learn about other arthropods such as scorpions, centipedes, or isopods.  (A good resource for this is chapter 2 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.) What is an arthropod?
Week 18: Finishing up Insects and the Mural
  1. Learn what different insects do in cold weather (migrate, die, live dormant, hibernate, etc.)
  2. Read about other interesting insects such as Praying Mantises, Dragonflies, Damselflies, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Katydids and Cicadas and discuss what is learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 13 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  3. On this week's nature walk, look for  Praying Mantises, Dragonflies, Damselflies, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Katydids and Cicadas (see the guidelines Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Hour Challenge, Dragonflies and Damselflies and Crickets, Grasshoppers and Katydids.) 
  4. If your student can find one, capture a cricket, make a habitat for it and count its chirps. Punch holes in the lid of a jar. Find a cricket on a nature walk. Make a home for the cricket by picking plants and gather dirt from the area in which you find the cricket. Set a shallow container of water in the jar. Provide a variety in the cricket's diet with bits of lettuce, apple or oatmeal. Have your student sketch the cricket in his nature  or science journal. Have the student count the number of chirps in 15 seconds, add 40 and this is the approximate temperature. Do this several times to get an average. Discuss what an average is. Compare this with the temperature on a thermometer. Record all of this in the science journal. Do this as many times throughout the we as the student is interested. Release the cricket as soon as the activity is over.
  5. Take another insect nature walk, but this time at night. Compare what you find to what you found during the daytime.
  6. Your sunflowers' seeds have developed. Glue sunflower seeds to the paper flowers in your mural.
Weeks 19, 20 and 21: Oceans
  1. Look at the oceans on a wold map or globe. Notice that the world's oceans are connected. Help your student copy the names of the oceans in his science journal.
  2. Point out that the earth might be more accurately called planet ocean as over 70% of the earth's surface is water. We play a game with a globe beach ball. Throw it to each other and each time someone catches it, look to see whether the hands are mostly touching land or water. Write it down each time. After you are finished about 10 throws (or 20 hands worth of data) we calculate the percentages. Your student might be amazed to see that it comes out to nearly 70% of the time touching water!
  3. Why is the ocean salty? Rocks on land contain salt and other minerals. As the water washes over the rocks, it wears away the surface and the minerals dissolve in the oceans. Dissolve salt in a half-cup water. Pour the salt-water onto a plate and put the plate in a sunny window. Predict what will happen. Have your student predict what will happen and record a sketch of the set-up and his predictions in his science journal. Check the plate in a few days and record what has happened to the water and the salt. Help the student make the connection to what happens to ocean water when it is exposed to the sun. Tell him that the ocean water is saltier nearer the equator and ask him to propose why this is so.
  4. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Prepare the second cup with the same amount of fresh water. Drop a very light object, such as a small piece of carrot, in both cups. If it is not too large, it should float in the salt water and sink in the fresh water. Tell your student that this is because the salt water is more dense.
  5. In a jar, mix water, salt, sand, small rocks and pieces of shell. Have your student draw a picture of this. Put a lid on it and shake the jar. Have your student draw a picture. Observe as the materials settle to the bottom of the jar. Have your student draw a third picture and help him make conclusions about the ocean floor.
  6. Beach Bucket Scavenger Hunt
  7. Discuss the types of things people leave at the shore that may get into the ocean. How might these things cause a problem? If you live near a beach, on your nature walk this week, have your student gather 3 things that are evidence of plant life, 2 things that are evidence of animal life and 1 thing that is evidence that humans have been there. He can also pick up 1 non-living material.
  8. Beach Bucket Sorting: Take the contents of the bucket of things gathered at the beach and look at them as a group. We took each item out and discuss whether it is Evidence of plant life, Evidence of animal life, Evidence of Humans, and Other Natural objects. If an item could fit in more than one category, point this out and lead a discussion over some of the items.
Week 22: Introduction to Zooland and Zookeepers
  1. Introduce your student to the zoo simulation by telling him that his task is to try to save a local zoo from shutting down. The mayor and members of the city council say that the zoo is outdated, has low attendance and that the animals are poorly treated so the zoo must close. An agreement has been worked out in which the Mayor agrees to keep the zoo open for one more year if the needed improvements can be made. Your student job is to learn how to be zookeepers by learning their lessons and passing tests on the lessons. He will also be able to purchase new animals or make improvements to the zoo by studying about the different kinds of animals in a zoo and making appropriate habitats for them.  Tell him that the simulation ends with the grand re-opening of the new and improved Zooland, and he will be able to give tours of the various habitat displays to friends and family.
  2. Students of this age do not have to always reports in paragraph form. Sometimes he can fill out a form and just check off boxes like this one from Eagle's Wings Considering God's Creation, Mortimer and Smith.

  3. Have your student pick one an animal to study in detail a week. Have him organize the information he learns to make a sign for the animal's cage. He needs to research the habitat needed for this animal. What other animals live in this type of habitat? This might lead to the next animal study. For the first animal, have him pick a carnivorous mammal.
  4. Carnivorous Mammals. Research about a carnivorous animal such as a fox, wolf or coyote.  (A good resource for this is chapter 2 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  5. For this week's nature walk, have your student look for a carnivorous animals such as a wolf or fox. If he cannot find one, perhaps you or a friend or neighbor has a dog your student can study. (You may want to follow the guidelines at the Handbook of Nature Study blog's Outdoor Hour Challenge: Wolf, Fox and Dog.)
  6. Teach your student about what a zookeeper does. (A good resource for this is chapter 1 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.) A zookeeper is responsible for many things. This is not to say that the zookeeper actually does each of these jobs each day, but he does make sure that each of these jobs gets done: feed the animals: When the zookeeper prepares the animal's food, they weigh it carefully so that they can keep track of the animal's weight to ensure the animal is healthy. They also add supplements, vitamins and medicine, as needed, to the food. They write all this down on a nutrition-diet log. clean the animals, prepare the animal's food, observe the animals. Zookeepers oversee the births of new animals and pay special attention to the young animals, making sure they have no injuries. They observe every animal that is under their care every day, making sure that all the animals are getting along, checking to see that the animals are healthy and well and conducting various types of research. They keep a record of all their observations. If an animal is not well, it's their job to report it to the veterinarian and then they work hand-in-hand to provide proper medical care. clean the animal's cages, and maintain the cages. Zookeepers have to clean the animal's cages every day by spraying the cages with disinfectant, scrub them with a broom that is similar to a scrub brush and then mop them dry. provide enrichment for the animals. Zookeepers make sure that their animals are entertained. They add fun things to the exhibits such as logs, balls, ice floats, swings, tires, mirrors and rags. They also come up with improvements for the cages to make them more realistic or entertaining for the animals and for the spectators. They also train the animals so that they can be handled easier. For example, a keeper can train a Rhino to go to a cleaning station so that it will be easier to care for the animal. conduct research. provide public educationZookeepers have to provide the public with information about the animals either through shows or just through their daily work and routines. They answer questions the public might have about the animals, tell of personal experiences with the animals and inform the public about how to responsibly behave towards the animals. Depending on the layout of the zoo and the zoo's size, the zookeeper may be responsible for several different types of animals, one group of animals (such as big cats) or a whole landscape of animals (such as jungle). Luckily a zookeeper is rarely, if ever, assigned to any animal alone. keep records.
  7. The Zookeeper Exam
Now it is time to give your students a test in order to become zookeepers for Zooland. Make your own multiple-choice exam, gearing it to the level of your students. Once they pass, you can reward them with Zooland ID cards (you can make these on your computer), complete with their photos and signatures.
5. Arrange a field trip to see a zookeeper's routines personally.

Weeks 23 and 24: Animal Care
  1. Continuing Carnivores. Have your student research about another carnivorous animal such as a bear, mink, otter, raccoon or skunk.  (A good resource for this is chapter 3 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.) Discuss the care of various pets, particularly any pets you may own. If you do not own any, you might consider purchasing one, even if it is just a goldfish or other easy to care for pet. 
  2. For this week's nature walk, have your student look for a another carnivorous animals such as a raccoon or skunk. (You may want to follow the guidelines at the Handbook of Nature Study blog's Outdoor Hour Challenge: Raccoon and Skunk.)
  3. Teach students about how to feed and water various pets. Some drink water from bowls and some through a water bottle. Discuss the food requirements of various pets.
  4. Discuss the need to keep the doors latched on animals that require cages and how to check to make sure they are closed properly. Discuss how you must also check cages to make sure that there isn't anything like loose nails or wire that could harm the animal.
  5. Teach the need to be calm and yet friendly around animals. Have your student practice this with his pets or visit a neighbor who has pets or go to a petting zoo to practice this. Discuss how an animal is more likely to want to escape from its cage if the animal has good living conditions. 
  6. For this week's nature study, have your student find a pet to observe. It could be a cat, goldfish, dog or any pet that is available to you. (You may find the challenges at the Handbook of Nature Study blog helpful: dogcat, goldfish.)
  7. Have your student research about a big cat such as a lion, tiger, bobcat or about the hyena, mongoose or meerkat.  (A good resource for this is chapter 4 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  8. Visit a zoo or pet shop. Zoos and pet shops are sometimes great places to learn about animal care. Sometimes they have special programs or times in which you can learn about the animals and how they are cared for, and sometimes they can just tell you about how the animals are cared for as they are working. Discuss about how to watch an animal to see if its behavior has changed as an indication of whether it is sick or distressed. Whether the animal is eating like it usually does is another indication. A mouse nature study might be an fun thing to do at the pet shop. 
  9. From time to time we have to give our animals medicine. Discuss how to accomplish that task, and how one sometimes has to be sneaky and hiding it in food or by holding the animal and getting the medicine in them before they realize it.
  10. Visit a Vet. Sometimes veterinarians sometimes will give tours and talk about their job responsibilities. 
Week 25: Other Jobs at the Zoo 
(Cover as many of these a day as holds the interest of the student; or about 2-3 a day.)
  1. Get books out of the library about zoos and the jobs at zoos. Read and look through these books as you discuss the various jobs. Each day you will be learning about a different job at the zoo.
  2. Research about a marsupial animal such as a kangaroo, koala or opossum. What are the characteristics of a marsupial?  (A good resource for this is chapter 5 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  3. For this week's nature study, go to a zoo, petting zoo or other facilities that has animals that you cannot otherwise see. Have your student pick an animal there to observe, sketch and write about.
  4. Zoo Curator. Depending on the size of the zoo, there may be multiple curators, each specializing in a different type of animal. A majority of curators start their animal careers as keepers. A keeper can move into a curator position by demonstrating leadership skills, as well as knowledge in the particular species he would like to manage. A zoo curator: 1.) plans the work of the keepers, the veterinarians and other zoo workers, 2.) creates animal displays, 3.) inspects the animals, 4.) takes care of any special problems the animals or the staff has, 5.) orders food and supplies needed at the zoo, 6.) acquires new animals
  5. The zoo's director makes sure that the zoo runs smoothly. He also creates new animal displays, solves problems with the animals, works with the community and schools and finds ways to raise money for new zoo exhibits.
  6. Have your student research about a reptile such as a snake, lizard, Iguania, Geeko or Komodo Dragon and record what he has learned in his science journal.  (A good resource for this is chapter 10 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  7. For this week's nature study, look for reptiles, such as snakes. Spend time observing some of the things that are spoken of in the Handbook of Nature Study lesson. 
  8. The veterinarian cares for all aspects of the health of the animals. 
  9. Guards protect the animals from harm and make sure the rules of the zoo are followed
  10. Gardeners take care of the landscaping.
  11. Builders repair cages, walls and walkways. They build fences, houses and animal displays.
  12. Electricians keep everything electrical, such as lights, motors and heaters, running smoothly, making repairs and maintenance precautions as needed.
  13. Have your student research about another reptile  such as a turtle, crocodile, or alligator or an amphibian such as frogs, toads, salamanders or newts and record what he has learned in his science journal. (A good resource for this is chapter 11 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)Lizard Anole Gecko Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy
  14. For this week's nature study, look reptiles, such as lizards, Anole and Geckos. Spend time observing some of the things that are spoken of in the Handbook of Nature Study lesson.
  15. Zoos have mechanics to fix the cars, lawn movers, trucks and anything else that runs on gasoline.
  16. Zoos use a tremendous amount of water to clean the animals, wash down the cages and give them baths. Water is also used in ponds, gardens and public rest rooms The plumber makes repairs and follows maintenance procedures.
  17. The zoo director and curators have secretaries that help them with the work of the office, such as typing letters, answering the phone and filing papers.
  18. Ticket booth operators clerks in the gift shops, tour guides and animal trainers also work for zoos.
  19. Research about a primate animal such as a monkey, lemur, ape, baboon, chimpanzee, gorilla or orangutan.  (A good resource for this is chapter 6 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
Week 26: The History and Purposes of Zoos

  1. Teach the student about the history and purposes of zoos. Zoos primary purpose in the beginning were to entertain, showing off exotic animals. Menageries, as they used to be called, have been in existence since 3,500 BC. In America, the Philadelphia Zoo opened its gates on July 1, 1874, after the opening being delayed by the Civil War. On opening day, flags flew, and a brass band welcomed more than 3,000 visitors. Admission was 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children, a rate that held for the next half century. Visitors came on foot, on streetcars, by horse and carriage, and every 15 minutes by steamboat on the Schuylkill River, landing at the Zoo's own wharf. he Frank Furness Victorian gates and gatehouses, and the Zoo's location, are the same today as they were on the day it opened. New York's Central Park Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo located in Chicago, Illinois were founded around this same time period. Lincoln Park Commissioners were given a gift of a pair of swans by Central Park's Board of Commissioners in New York City. In 1874, the swans were joined by a bear cub, the first animal purchased for the zoo. The bear became quite adept at escaping from its home and could frequently be found roaming Lincoln Park at night.The first bison ever born in captivity was born in Lincoln Park. A new Lion House opened in 1912, followed by a Primate House in 1927. Marlin Perkins, who gained fame as the host of the television program Wild Kingdom, was director of the zoo from 1944 until 1962. During the 1970's the public's attention was turned to how the animals were being treated in zoos. The Wildlife Conservation Society and the American Zoo Association agreed to having wildlife conservation as their top priority. Zoos today focus on six things. Each day for the next six days talk to your student about one of these six things. 
  2. Conservation: Protecting animals and providing for all of their needs. 
  3. Breeding: With medical care, some animals are fairing better in zoos than in the wild. 
  4. Re-population: helping to restore endangered species. 
  5. Gene Pools: Zoos take blood samples of rare and almost extinct animals to be preserved in a global gene pool in the hope that one day the animals can be repopulated using the DNA collected today
  6. For this week's nature study, look amphibians, such as frogs. Spend time observing some of the things that are spoken of in the Handbook of Nature Study lesson.
  7. Exploration: Most of us would never be able to see animals from around the world were it not for zoos. 
  8. Education: Many zoo exhibits are created with this in mind.
  9. Zoo Stories As part of zoo's educational program, many zookeepers have shows or special times in which visitors can see the animals closer, sometimes even touching them. Sometimes, as part of these programs, the zookeepers will have created what is called a zoo story. This story is not fictional, but gives some true account of the behavior of the animal, and also included in the story is factual information about the animal. Often zookeepers will tell you the animal's name and how he got the name. Have your student write their own fictional zoo stories about one or more of the animals they have chosen to study. Ask them the following questions and using the research they have done on one of their chosen animals, guide them to answer the questions, while you act as stenographer, writing their answers in their science journals. Your student may illustrate this.: Give the animal a name, and tell how he got his name.Tell how your Zoo obtained the animal. Tell something interesting your animal did at the zoo, based on the factual information you have learned about the animal. Explain any unusual habits your animal may have, based on the factual information you have learned about the animal. Tell about any problems the zoo keeper might have had with the animal. If your animal is endangered, tell why. Include any interesting facts about our animal. If possible, tell what they eat in the wild vs. what they eat at the zoo.
  10. Research about an animal that is a rodent  or one of their relatives such as a capybara, mouse, squirrel, beaver, rabbit, platypus, sloth, anteater, or armadillo.  (A good resource for this is chapter 7 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  11. For this week's nature study, have your student focus on the mouse, squirrel, beaver or rabbit.
Week 27: Displaying Animals

  1. For your student's final project on zoos, help him make a zoo habitat display model. Have your student think about what things he needs to include to make the habitat natural and usable for the animals. He also has to decide whether he is making a habitat for one type of animals or for more than one type that could live together. Teach your student about how zoos make cages without bars. 
  2. Making Zoo Habitats. There are things to consider when creating animal displays for a zoo. Always think of the needs of the animals, the visitors and the zoo keepers. Begin by thinking of the animal's needs. Make the exhibit as close to the animal's natural habitat as possible. Make the largest exhibit you feel your zoo can afford. Fewer better exhibits are better than many ones that are too small. Avoid making corners where animals might feel trapped. The largest side of the exhibit should face the visitors. The visitors should be as close as it is safe. Animals should be displayed at eye level. Make sure there is a way the zookeepers can enter the habitat to take care of the animals' needs. The exhibit should clearly state what kind of animal is in the habitat and some information about the animal(s), for one of the purposes of zoos is to inform and educate.
  3. Determine the size and scale of your habitat. The best place to start is with your animals. If you are using plastic zoo animals, you might want to purchase them first to determine your scale. 
  4. Next, decide what materials you want to use. You can get some bakery boxes with clear windows to use for the displays so that you can store them easily or you can just used a piece of cardboard for the base. You can use salt dough or clay. He can use sand, dried sea grass, evergreen or any other natural objects to his display. What ways can your students come up with to make their displays?
  5. Making Cages Without BarsBars are a kind of barrier that keep people a safe distance from the animals and keep the animals a safe distance from the people. Unfortunately the bars also make it more difficult to see the animals. Therefore, modern zoos have come up with was to remove the bars but still keep the animals and visitors safe. All of these barriers have a second barrier such as a short wall with hand rail. Glass (or plastic) Barriers. Used often for small reptiles, but can also be used for larger animals such as tigers and crocodiles. Moat. A large trench that goes around all or part  of the animal's enclosure. The animals and visitors are all at the same level.  Some moats have water and some are dry. They also have a steep wall on the visitor's side. The size of the moat varies according to the animal -an elephant will not cross a moat more than six feet wide, but a lion needs a moat at least 21 feet across. Electrical barriers. Animals quickly learn how far they can go without getting shocked. Best used with small animals like porcupines. Thermal Barrier. Freezer coils keep reptiles enclosed as they stay away from cold places. Have your student pick one of these barriers for his model and decide what materials he can use to simulate these barriers. 
  6. Have your student research about worms and other gastropods such as snails and slugs and record what he has learned in his science journal (A good resource for this is chapter 14 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  7. For this week's nature study, look for garden slugs or snails. Spend time observing some of the things that are spoken of in the Handbook of Nature Study lesson.
An example of a barrier on a model. This  student decided that clear plastic would be the best barrier for his bat cave, so we wrapped his cave with plastic wrap to simulate this. 
Week 28: How Zoos Get Their Animals

  1. Have your student research about a ungulate animal such as an elephant, horse, zebra or rhino.  (A good resource for this is chapter 8 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)
  2. Teach your student how zoos get their animals. Years ago zoos would send people all over the world to collect animals. To keep expenses down and to preserve the wild animals in their natural habitats, very few zoos obtain their animals in this way, but instead get them in one of these ways: Trade: Zoo directors get lists of animals that other zoos want to trade, and if the zoo wants one of the animals, the two zoo directors work out some sort of trade. Breeding: Many zoos have breeding programs, in which the animals either become a part of the zoo's collection or are traded to other zoos. Gifts: Rarely zoos will accept animals that people offer them. Most animals offered them are too common, such as snakes, birds or turtles. In 1972 the National Zoological Park accepted two Giant Pandas from China. Loans: Zoos loan each other animals If an animal's display is being repaired or upgraded, the zoo might loan the animals to another zoo until the display is finished. Sometimes animals are loaned as part of a breeding program.
  3. Teach your student about what happens when a new animal arrives. When a new animal arrives at the zoo, it is kept in a special cage away from other animals. It is examined closely to make sure that it doesn't have any diseases. If an animal is going into a display with other existing animals, the other animals are sometimes removed so that new animal can get used to his home and its smells. Once the animal is comfortable, the other animals are put back.
  4. Play the Zoo Animal Trading Game. Instructions on how to make and play the game can be found here.

Weeks 29-32:  Finishing Up The Animal Kingdom

  1. Have your student research about an animal in the order Artiodactyla such as a cow, antelope, gazelle, impala, bison, buffalo, camel, deer, giraffe or hippo and record what he has learned in his science journal.  (A good resource for this is chapter 9 of Exploring Creation with Zoology III, by Jeannie Fulbright or you can find resources at your library.)Cattle and Deer Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy
  2. For this week's nature study, strive to think of creative ways to see some cattle or a deer, whether it means a trip to the zoo or a visit to a farm. Spend time observing some of the things that are spoken of in the Handbook of Nature Study lesson. If you are unable to do this, then go outdoors to look for any mammals you have in your neighborhood. You might also want to look for deer tracks!


  1. This is an amazing break down of preschool biology!

  2. Wow, someone might build their entire curriculum based on your write ups!


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