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Archive for July 17th, 2010

We actually did this lesson last night right after our “What is Life” lesson, but my posts are so full of photos, I like to break things up a bit.

I love learning along with my daughter, and this lesson was no exception! We learned about cells, parts of a cell, and the difference between animal and plant cells. For our lab activity, we used a chicken egg. Since I’m on-off vegan, I had to get eggs from the store for this, but at least they were cage-free, organic, high Omega-3 eggs. In this picture you might even be able to see the tiny holes egg shells have to let air and water in (click image).

Satori filled out the lab worksheet on parts of the egg as we carefully examined our own egg.

The entire family learned more about the egg. David used to think the yellow-orange yolk was the baby chicken itself, which might explain why he doesn’t like to eat eggs, being we are vegetarian. But the yolk is the food for the embryo before it is hatched. We learned what all those funny little parts are that are attached to the yolk (chalaza). We saw the blastodisc inside the yolk. Satori knows a tiny bit about eggs from our quick unit study on the human body and she kept wanting to draw a sperm entering this egg. That entry point would be the blastodisc.

Anyway, the yolk and blastodisc is one entire single cell that we can see without an expensive microscope!

Satori completed her worksheet, labeled the major parts of the egg and colored it in.

Here’s more helpful resources on learning about Eggs!

Enchanted Learning – Egg and Embryo Development

Interactive Cell Model for Animal and Plant Cells

Plant and Animal Cell Worksheets

Yesterday we pulled out our R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Life program (RSO) and did the first two lessons. Up until now we’ve struggled with trying to use Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU). But after discovering recently that BFSU won’t be covering evolution in their next level, I decided it was time to put it on the shelf and try to do a science program that was easier to follow. I had actually purchased RSO a year ago, as it looked great – specifically built for homeschoolers and followed the WTM classical style of three cycles of Life, Earth/Space, Chemistry and Physics. I looked through it again and printed it all out and put in a 1.5″ Staples Better Binder.


I could not believe how easy-to-implement and how well put together this program is! I felt rather spoiled. In the front of the book, is lists of perishable and non-perishable items you’ll need in order of lessons. Book suggestions and web links. Each lesson starts out as a read-aloud story which isn’t hesitant to include a few complex science vocabulary words. Then there’s at least one lab activity all neatly laid out for you, including worksheets you might need. The activities look so much fun! I was drooling over it all and then I purchased the next two years – Earth & Space and Chemistry. They look just as much fun and I know Satori is going to love this.

In fact, this program is so well put together that I could hand the RSO binder to David and have him teach an entire lesson right off the bat! I could never do that with BFSU, that always required a 30-minute reading and gathering prep for the parent.

After reading the intro story on “What is L ife?” and doing the first worksheet, we headed out in the wilderness to do a plot study. This fox watched us, he was doing some really loud and scary screaming that we had to double-check it wasn’t a mountain lion before we entered the forest!

Armed with a magnifying glass.

David was doubtful we’d find any “life” in our high altitude desert forest, but that’s pretty much all we found. The only non-living things we found was rocks, soil, and a scrap of tinfoil. Our first rock Satori overturned had a nest of ants with tons of larvae. By the time we got the camera from the house, the busy ant workers had whisked most of the larvae into safer passages.

Here’s a view of our house we don’t usually see.

We’re really looking forward to doing more RSO lessons. In fact, you may see a slurry of RSO posts in the next few days, we are going on another 12-day vacation next week so we want to get as much in as we can before we head to my parent’s Wisconsin farm. Here’s a few more views of the program, although you can download an extensive “Try Before You Buy” off the Pandia Press website!

The read-aloud story for “Living Things Are Made of Cells” (lesson covered in next post)!

A sample lab worksheet, see how easy they lay it all out for you?

View of the front cover.