Friday, June 21, 2013

Sizzling Summer Solstice, 2013

This year in the Northern Hemisphere, summer begins on June 21, 2013.

This first day of summer is called Summer Solstice.

Sol + stice comes from a combination of Latin words meaning "sun" + "to stand still." As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.

As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in 
the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their 
longest summer day in December!


What are your favorite activities during summer?

Do you have any special summer plans?

Leave a comment, and let's stay in touch!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wonderful, Wild, and Amazing Animals!, 2013!

As part of our animal adaptation science unit, Beverly Critcher 
from Wildlife Experience brought wild animals
to Mrs. Ranney's class for careful
scientific observation.

Wildlife Experience  is a non-profit wildlife education organization that brings native and exotic animals to schools and teaches children about the importance of our natural world.

This is Vince, the veiled chameleon. Chameleon's are carnivorous reptiles that cannot run but can climb well. They have prehensile tails that help them hold on to branches and a tongue like a rubber band to help them catch a tasty meal. Do you remember why they eat the skin they shed?

Here is Awesome, the four-month-old opossum! Opossums are a special kind of mammal called a marsupial, and they are the only marsupial found in North America. They are omnivores. Do you remember what happens when opossums "play dead?"

Here is Tuck, the hedgehog. Hedgehogs got their names from the fact that they live in hedges or bushes and that they grunt like hogs!
They roll into balls and bump from side to side to protect themselves. Hedgehogs are insectivores. Do you remember what their quills are made of?

This leopard gecko is a lizard that stores fat in its tail. It wiggles its tail at would-be predators. Do you remember why?

Punk, the skunk, a nocturnal mammal lives right here in our community! Skunks are omnivores and will eat just about anything. Do you remember what skunks do with their tails when threatened?

Another animal found in our local environment is the red-tailed hawk. This one, named Shasta, was found injured near the Shasta Mountains. Hawks can see clearly 8 times farther than we can! Why might they need to do that?

Ball pythons, like this one, are carnivorous snakes found in Africa. Snakes are reptiles, which we know means they are vertebrate animals. They can swallow something whole that is 3 times the size of their heads! Pythons are constrictors. Do you remember what that means?

What did the skin feel like to you?

Squirrel monkeys are the smallest monkeys in the world, weighing in at only around 2 pounds! To this monkey a smile is threatening, so we could not show our teeth! Squirrel monkeys are omnivores that live in the rain forest in groups of up to 250. Do you remember why they like large groups?

Sally, the tiger salamander, is the largest kind in the United States. Salamanders are amphibians which means they must stay wet. Do you remember how salamanders breathe when underwater?

 Our final visitor, Moose, the fennec fox, is the smallest fox in the world but has the biggest ears! Foxes, like other dogs, do not sweat, but pant to release heat. Do you remember another way that the fennec fox releases heat?

Thanks, Ms. C. for another wonderful wildlife experience!


What was your favorite animal and why?

What other fabulous facts can you share about our visitors!