Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Studying Manatees

We took a little learning rabbit trail this week.  In preparation to study Florida, I’d picked up some library books on the manatee.  The girls fell in love with these docile creatures and like any good homeschooling mom, I whipped up a mini-unit study.  Both girls created their own manatee lapbook from Homeschool Share.

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Manatees swim in both salt and fresh water.  However, they only drink fresh water (don’t blame them a bit).  If they can’t find fresh water, they will siphon fresh water (rain for example) off the top of salt water.  We did a lovely experiment to show that fresh water will float on top of salt water.

We used 8 oz. tap water and 8 tablespoons of salt and lots of stirring.  Then we added a wee bit of red food coloring to some tap water and dropped a little in the salt water to see if the red “fresh water” floated on top.  Finally, a successful science experiment!

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We also measured each girls height, and checked their weight in comparison to that of a manatee.  Lindsey is still stuck at 35 lbs., in comparison to 1200-2200 for a manatee.  Olivia’s 4 ft. 4 1/2 inches didn’t quite measure up to the 10-12 foot long manatee either.

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Books we used:
Dancing With Manatees; by Faith McNulty
Florida Manatees; by Meish Goldish
Face to Face With Manatees; by Brian Skerry
Endangered Mermaids, Manatees of Florida; VHS

The video tape was especially useful in showing how boats can injure and kill manatees.  The girls were in tears at one point as they watched a manatee get hit and killed by a speedboat.  Lindsey was quick to point out that “people need to follow the rules”.   Yeah, in a perfect world baby!   There was also some moments of great joy as an injured manatee eventually healed and was released back into the wild.

Oh, and I learned that Lindsey can’t be left alone with a bottle of Elmer’s glue.  When she glues a project down, it’s staying down!

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1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way too often "finally a successful science experiment" !!

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