The American black bear is the smallest of the three bears species found in North America, and are found only in North America.
Black bears have short, non-retractable claws that give them an excellent tree-climbing ability.
Black bear fur is usually a uniform color except for a brown muzzle and light markings that sometimes appear on their chests.
Eastern populations are usually black in color while western populations often show brown, cinnamon, and blond coloration in addition to black.
Black bears with white-bluish fur are known as Kermode (glacier) bears and these unique color phases are only found in coastal British Columbia, Canada.
The Snowy Owl, also known as the Arctic Owl or White Owl, nests on Arctic tundra habitats throughout its northern circumpolar breeding range—often adjacent to coastal Arctic seas.
This is one of the largest owls in the world, and has the most northerly breeding and wintering distribution of any owl species.
Plumage is unmistakable in this species. Adult males are almost pure white, and adult females are white with brown barring.
As part of our snowy owl component, we created both these creatures and their nests.
The materials used by your little ones include feathers, clay, googly eyes, and sticks!
In addition to learning about the snowy owl, students accessed several areas of development, including lateralization, sensory registration and divergent thinking.
The porcupine is the prickliest of rodents. Its Latin name means “quill pig”, which is the regional American name of the porcupine.
There are more than two dozen porcupine species, and all boast a coat of needle-like quills to give predators a sharp reminder that this animal is no easy meal.
Some quills, like those of Africa’s crested porcupine, are nearly a foot long.
As part of our forest theme, we created porcupines using toothpicks and potatoes. Students strengthened their hand-eye coordination and counting skills while creating the perfect prickly friend!
Boreal forests are only found in the northern hemisphere of Earth, mainly between latitudes 50° and 60° N. With short, cool summers and long, cold winters, these forests form an almost contiguous belt around the Earth, sandwiched between temperate deciduous forests to the south and tundra to the north.
Due to the short growing season in these regions, deciduous trees don’t have enough time to regrow their leaves, and very few of them are able to survive.
Instead, coniferous dominate because they don’t have to regrow their leaves and are better adapted for a colder climate.
As part of our forest theme, we learned about all kinds of forests: temperate, tropical and boreal! We talked not only about the trees and the weather, but the animals that inhabitate them!
With this activity, we created boreal forests out of branches, sticks, play dough and animals such as the arctic hare and arctic fox!
Students enjoyed construction their own forests and then collaborating with their friends!
Temperate forests are those found in the moderate climates between the tropics and boreal regions in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
They may also be called “four-season forests” because the midlatitude climates harboring them tend to experience four distinct seasons.
A vast diversity of different forest types make up this broad category, from the broadly distributed temperate deciduous forests to pine woods and relatively geographically restricted temperate rainforests.
As part of forest theme, we created our own temperate forest.
We also learned about the kinds of animals that live there, such as bears, squirrels, foxes, and deer!
Developing a child’s pencil grasp correctly is not just about helping them learn how to write, it is about teaching them how to grip. That is why we are constantly engaging in activities that help your little ones strengthen their fine motor skills, specifically their pencil grasp.
By age 3 to 4 a young child will learn how to write using the static tripod grasp or quadrupod grasp. This grasp consists of them holding writing utensils crudely and using the whole pads of their fingers on the writing utensil.
There also may still be some wrist and forearm movement to move the pencil, with the fingers not moving, or static. For this activity, we practiced strengthening the muscles responsible for this grasp with a squeezing activity.
As part of our “birds” week, we manipulated feathered clothespins, placing them onto trees in our “rainforests”. Students used their quadrupod grasp to grip the pins, creating a very colorful aviary!
Birds occur on land, sea and freshwater, and in virtually every habitat, from the lowest deserts to the highest mountains.
Our knowledge of bird species can tell us a great deal about the state of the world and wider biodiversity. Patterns of bird diversity are driven by fundamental biogeographic factors, with tropical countries (especially in South America) supporting the highest species richness.
One thing we enjoy about birds is. the variety of colors they display. It is for this reason that we spent a few days talking about the birds of the rainforest.
Tropical rainforests are home to many kinds of birds, including parrots, hornbills, toucans, and raptors like eagles, hawks, and vultures.
To help us learn more about these birds and their colors, we created trees made out of colorful pasta! Using their fingers, students strengthened their tripod grasp by placing dyed pasta into skewers. The result is a beautiful bird forest!
Tactile learning and touch is essential for a child’s growth in physical abilities, cognitive and language skills, and even social and emotional development.
Touch is not only imperative for short-term advancement with infancy and early childhood sensory experiences, but for long-term development within the child. Many children learn through tactile experiences, especially when they are young.
If a child struggles to learn through their auditory or with their visual system, they may use their tactile experiences to develop other learning skills. For this activity, your little ones explored the texture of corn starch and water, known as our “gooey monsters” experiment. Students enjoyed placing googly eyes and other manipulatives onto their goo, and experimenting with the different textures!
Before learning to count, a child needs to understand one to one correspondence.
This means being able to match one object to one other object or person. 1:1 correspondence is simply the ability to match each member of one set to the member of an equal set.
Usually when we think of 1:1 correspondence, we are only thinking of matching one of something to one of something else, but this concept also includes matching two of one thing to two of another thing, or three, or four, or five, or a hundred (and on and on and on). For this activity, we practiced our one-to-one correspondence with bat erasers and numbers.
Using tweezers, students placed their erasers into an ice tray. Within each cube was a number (1-6). Students were instructed to match their numbers to the correct number of erasers that they were instructed to count out. In addition to one-to-one correspondence, this activity also targeted fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.