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Archive for May 10th, 2009

Our Fossil Dig activity was such a hit that all Satori wanted to do was talk about fossils! Finding our own fossils really made these lessons come alive for us, and the four fossils are some of the best examples, and we see them in all our fossil books we’ve been reading.

Here’s a few videos:

I remember as a child checking out tons of books from the library. In fact, I almost always had my nose buried in a book. After college, I just  bought all my books (and sold them) on Amazon. My husband kept telling me to use the library, but as a programmer/Internet gal, I always wanted books written in the past year and wanted to own them. But now I’m once again a library fan with homeschooling Satori. I just cannot afford to buy all the books I want, and the library has almost all of them we want to read. We’ll still purchase certain books that we want to use as references, or just those special books we’ll read more than once.

Yesterday I wanted to get books on fossils and evolution, as we study prehistoric life. The Boulder Public Library had all that I wanted, and then some!

Library books on fossils and evolution

Library books on fossils and evolution

Here’s a few I already had on my kitchen table, thought I’d throw them in:

More books on big bang, evolution...

More books on big bang, evolution...

I’ll be adding these to our History Curriculum plans as go-along books.

Also today, from the above Fossil Factory book (which was a great treasure to find), we started to make our own fossil casts. We’ll finish them tomorrow, but you can get a sneak peek at how our dinosaur and creature footprint fossil are coming along. (I thought it was appropriate to set them on this month’s NatGeo magazine of the baby mammoth found in the ice!)

Fossil casts

Fossil casts

The past few days we’ve been studying fossils and often came across the term “sediment”.

Solid fragmented material, such as silt, sand, gravel, chemical precipitates, and fossil fragments, that is transported and deposited by water, ice, or wind or that accumulates through chemical precipitation or secretion by organisms, and that forms layers on the Earth’s surface.

I figured out a cool activity to demonstrate the sediment process. First I collected different “sediment layers” around the house, such as flour, rice, kool-aid powder, sugar, cous-cous, chia seeds, spices, kidney beans, etc…  Have a jar ready, and if you want, some dino or animals to bury. I had Satori and David organize the granules from coarseness to fineness of the grains, which was a fun learning activity in itself, as we peered at the grains with a microscope and held separate pieces in our hands.



Then we chose 2 dinosaur fossils and set them on the finest layer, the flour. This needn’t be done, as the dinos never showed up in our jar anyway.

Dino skeletons on the ground

Dino skeletons on the ground

Then pour over the sediment layers over the fossils (finest goes first so it stays on the bottom) and the result is a colorful display of sediment!

Sedimentary "rock" layers

Sedimentary "rock" layers

We had heard some rumors about the recent winds uncovering some pottery nearby in Kashi Woods… So on a misty, foggy afternoon, the family trekked out in our backyard (adjacent to Roosevelt National Forest) to take a look.

Here’s Satori, armed with a basket to hold any artifacts set out on the hike.


Hmm… nothing yet…


Ooh, what was that?


Jackpot! We found lots of pottery pieces scattered about.


As the archaeologists got back to their lab, David and Satori attempted to glue the pieces back together.


Parents: To do this little project, I found a chipped bowl in the basement that we never used. Also another cheap bowl to add some variety. I gently broke the bowls, but the first one I wasn’t so gentle and it broke into  hundreds of pieces. Don’t slam a clay bowl on your concrete garage floor! 😉 Oh well, archaeologists rarely find complete artifacts and fossils… Then I pre-placed them in the forest behind our house for our family to “discover”!

Satori has always loved dinosaurs, and as we near our highly anticipated dinosaur studies, she’s been playing with her dinosaur figurines a lot. And mama, ever the research geek, finds lots of niche sites dedicated to… dinosaur toys! People share their photos of their dinosaurs, their dino dioramas, and more. I thought I’d quickly try my hand at a few dino photos.

I came across this lovely Triceratops hanging out among some boulders.


A few moments later, her little baby triceratops runs to her side!


Later on, the colorful daddy makes his presence…



Life in a small, mountain town has its special moments. Today Satori walked into Nature’s Own store in Nederland and asked the owner if he had any Triceratops dinosaurs. He really got a kick out of that and asked her if she went to school. “Not anymore”, she said. 🙂 After a friendly interview with my daughter they gave her this cool heart! As we left the store, everyone said “Goodbye Satori!!!” We love that store, we love rocks and learning toys, and they’ve got it all, and always send us off with a pretty rock, little animal toy or this heart.

Gift from Nature's Own, Nederland

Gift from Nature's Own, Nederland

Then off to Doc Joe’s to give Maddie our dog a consult for an ailment. He sends us off with lots of stuff we needed, no payment required, he’ll put it on our bill. But first, he gives us a big hug!

Then down to Boulder where the attention isn’t quite as personal, yet everyone recognizes us. The bird store remembers me and recommends this ultraviolet sticker to put on our windows so birds don’t fly into our windows anymore.

Bird window stickers

Bird window stickers

Playfair Toys always recognizes us, but never remembers my name. A nice friendly toy store which we love and visit as much as we can.