Wednesday, July 23, 2014

a nurtured love of learning (one of my favorite topics!)

fossil hunt fossil hunt fossil hunt fossil hunt sifter and identification guide found! cleaning and examining her fossils cleaning the fossils the girls' museum ticket favorite fossils museum bunny love shark drawing by C yum! (melting) chocolate shark's tooth

When your children are (almost) as interested in sharks as you are, and want to learn all they can about them and comb the beaches for shark teeth, but you are hundreds of miles from a beach or museum - what do you do? You want to nurture that love of learning they all seem to have on the subject so... you make do. At least, that's what we did.

K was the first to inform me that she really wanted to learn more about sharks and our oceans this summer. She very specifically told me she wanted "to really learn about them and not just make crafts like we mostly did last summer." So I found a happy compromise where we wouldn't go too far outside the Waldorf realm and learn things that were above their heads. We bought a globe so they could get a better understanding of just how vast our oceans are. We checked book after book out at the library on oceans, coral reefs and the creatures that live there. I also spoke a bit more to them about how important sharks are to our survival and a tiny bit about how humans are hurting them. This book (that I have had forever) is one of my favorites because it not only gives a good amount of facts on sharks but it also gently goes into how man is destroying them. Most shark books I have found do the opposite and talk about how we can use sharks (like for shark fin soup!)

Something else that we did, which was a huge hit, was search for shark fossils thanks to the Aurora Fossil Museum located all the way on the other side of the country in North Carolina. I visited this museum many years ago on the way to the Outer Banks while I was on an oceanography field trip in college. I fell I love with it straight away. I knew that someday I would want to bring my future children back there with me. Well, that just isn't possible right now but then a post my friend did last year came to mind. I called the museum and asked them if they could ship some of their fossil rich dirt to us along with some identification guides. They were more than happy to help, and I must say it was so nice talking to their staff about my memories there on the phone!

My children spent a day sifting and digging, finding so many fossils that we lost count. Once they were done digging, they brought their finds inside to clean and identify. I was able to identify quite a few of the sharks teeth, simply because I love and study them, but we had to use our identification charts for all of the other amazing fossil finds. After that, the girls set up their own museum outside and made tickets for Little L and I so we could visit. They placed their very favorite fossils in a bowl full of water decorated with dandelions. You've got to love that little extra touch! I enjoyed hearing them talk about the different teeth they had on display and the sharks that they belonged to. We closed out the day with chocolate mint sharks teeth that I made using a mold my oceanography teacher had made many years earlier (and they sold at the Aurora Fossil Museum.) I think (hope) I am living up to K's ocean learning expectations so far!

On a side note - There doesn't appear to be any good fossil sites around here, although I am still looking, but I have heard from locals that gold panning is the big craze. I think the children and I may need to go up the mountains to try it!

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