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Category: 1 – Archaeology

Satori and I had so much fun this week! I love having a daughter, I can’t wait to have more children (most likely adoption).

We just finished our Story of the World history lesson, the very first chapter about History and Archaeology. We actually had gone over both very thoroughly way back in May 2009, and one of Satori’s dream jobs is an Archaeologist. Our Archaeology Dig was last spring, which would have been messy to do indoors anyway this winter. Here’s a few pictures from back then, or you can click the above link.

Coming back to the present day, I pulled out our SOTW book. As I read the story, she started doodling on her whiteboard.

A bit worried that she might not be paying attention, I asked her to describe her drawing. She proved she listened to every word, as the items on the ground where from an ancient civilization and the person shown was an archaeologist finding the artifacts in the ground! She also remembered me saying something about learning about the Egyptians soon, as she also included an Egyptian mask, an Egyptian fossil (I don’t think she doesn’t know about mummies yet, or maybe she does), and more. She then begged to learn about Egyptians, but I was not prepared to jump into that yet. We’ll start our Egypt studies in two weeks, have patience honey!

Our spelling lesson started out with her distracted, but I used a bribe of one Nerd candy for each word spelled correctly. (I haven’t used candy as a bribe for half a year, so don’t think this is typical!) At first I didn’t think she was going to get our new spelling rule of how to know when to use a “-CK” or “-K” at the end of a word, but she proved me very wrong as this turned out to be a very enthusiastic lesson of lots of dances, hugs, and of course, a few sugary Nerds! Once she started, she spelled every word correctly – mask, elk, duck, thick, milk, etc…  She begged to spell more and more, and we finished almost 3 Spelling lessons as a consequence. When I said “no more”, she ended with this phrase:

Obviously we haven’t covered the word “great” in our spelling yet, but at least she understood the long e! We have covered “great” in our reading, so I switched the vowels around to show her how to spell “great”, and not a frame of metal bars. 😉

Satori injects humor into her lessons, which is great because I need the laugh now and then. On Monday, in our All About Spelling lesson where we spell on paper, I had asked her to spell “spell”. She doesn’t want me to watch her in the act, so after she wrote it out, she had it all covered up. She then uncovered the “SP” and I said that’s not how to spell it! She giggled crazily and uncovered the teeny tiny word “spell” at the bottom of the page! Lol!

It’s the little things like this that make every day so much fun. I love my family! I love homeschooling!

I didn’t plan to do more fossil-related activities, but when I saw this in the store, I couldn’t resist. Here it is on Amazon – I Dig Bugs: Amber Fossil Excavation. It comes with the excavation brick (with surprise inside), two tools, and glasses. Satori prefers her own googles though.

Amber fossil dig

Amber fossil dig

This was much easier than the other “digs” we’ve done this month.

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Oooh, think we see something…

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So pretty!!!

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Unlike our other digs, this isn’t a genuine fossil, but it perfectly demonstrates the concept of amber fossils with insect inside. And it comes with  a predrilled hole and cord to make a necklace!

Amber fossil necklace

Amber fossil necklace

Wrapping up our study on fossils, although I’m sure we will come across many fossils in our studies of prehistory!

Here’s another Fossil Activity we did, taken from The Fossil Factory: A Kid’s Guide to Digging Up Dinosaurs, Exploring Evolution, and Finding Fossils. This book was another little treasure trove for myself, I read it in one night, it’s not really a picture book for a 4 year old, so I haven’t read it to her yet, but I learned a lot, and it offered some cool activities.

The Fossil Factory

The Fossil Factory

We made a fossil cast using clay, Plaster of Paris and the impressions we wanted (dog footprint and toy dinosaur body cast).

Insert toy dino, hand/foot  (for print), leaves, or your choice in the clay. Take out and let clay dry for 3 hours.

Toy dino in clay

Toy dino in clay

Tightly tape a 2 inch tall strip of cardboard around the clay. Mix up Plaster of Paris according to package directions and pour in clay impression. Let sit overnight.

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The next day, brush oil over the plaster and add more plaster to make the cast.

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The next day, we have both the impression and a cast, and now we have two parts that will fit together!

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Satori has been obsessed with trilobites today. A few days ago it was triceratops. So I’m researching more about trilobites, as she wants to do a video narration on her trilobite knowledge. I soon found out that trilobites rank second only to dinosaurs as a famous extinct organism. Today we also learned that there are thousands of species of trilobites, so every fossil can look a little different. They were the first ancient creature to develop sophisticated eyes, although the different species of trilobites have eyes in different places, or no eyes at all!

Trilobite interactive coloring page from EnchantedLearning.com

Trilobite interactive coloring page from EnchantedLearning.com

We found this interactive online Trilobite coloring page on EnchantedLearning.com, which normally needs a subscription, but we weren’t asked for our password. Here’s Satori’s coloring job. 🙂

Thank you Levi from Nature’s Own in Nederland for giving us a great fossil demonstration! He helped Satori pick out her very own trilobite fossil, something she’d been really looking forward to. Trilobite fossil was $6.

Trilobite fossil

Trilobite fossil

He also had a stunning display of pearly ammonites, so pretty! We got one for a  few dollars to add to our collection. Here it is sitting on this fossil book with the first page showing a pearly ammonite.

Pearly Ammonite fossil

Pearly Ammonite fossil

For $12, we got a whole kit of 12 fossils – all the common ones plus petrified wood, a dinosaur bone, and much more…

Fossil kit of 12 fossils

Fossil kit of 12 fossils

Each fossil is enclosed with a description of what it is, how old it is, what period it came from, and where it came from. Here’s our Crinoid stem (sea lily) which was actually an animal fossil.

Crinoid stem fossil

Crinoid stem fossil

But you always have to have a favorite, and for Satori, it was the Trilobite.

Favorite fossil - trilobite

Favorite fossil - trilobite

Here she is rolling around with her new favorite trilobite.

I love my trilobite!

I love my trilobite!

I’m trying to think of ways to get Satori to fathom how very long ago the universe, the earth, and all were formed, as well as a general idea of the time relationships to each other. We started with an inexpensive and easy timeline. (I plan to make more elaborate timelines once we start our ancient history studies.)

I took a roll of calculator paper, and marked off one foot on a ruler for each billion years. Then we put it up on a long wall, our staircase was the perfect length. Satori then made quick little pictures of each major universe event.

Satori drawing the Big Bang

Satori drawing the Big Bang

Now we have sketches for: the Big Bang, Galaxies/Stars, Sun, Earth, and First Life, all appropriately set upon our book, Born With a Bang!

All our universe event sketches

All our universe event sketches

We headed to our Universe Wall Timeline and I told Satori how many billion of years ago each event happened, and she placed them in the appropriate place. (I had to strategically place our timeline high enough for our cats not to eat it,  yet short enough for Satori to reach it. )

Big Bang ~ 13-15 billion years ago

Big Bang ~ 13-15 billion years ago

It gives a great visual idea of how far apart universe events happened, and how our sun, galaxy, and earth all formed around the same time. We’ll get to see how life began, and how very small a time that life as we know it (mammals, humans) takes up space on our Universe Timeline.

Sun, galaxy and earth formed ~ 4.5 billion years ago

Sun, galaxy and earth formed ~ 4.5 billion years ago

And here’s our Universe Timeline, up through everything we’ve studied so far! We’re tackling early life this week, so the last picture is a one-celled organism. We’ll likely make an Earth Timeline which will be a bit more condensed, we can also refer to our Charlie’s Playhouse Giant Timeline for this. In fact, Satori asked where the squishy animals were on our timeline, and I had to explain this is for the Universe, the beginning of our world as we know it.

Universe Timeline

Universe Timeline

What a great way to remind ourselves of the wonders of our universe and when events happened!

Universe Timeline for Kids

  • 15 Billion Years Ago – Big Bang
  • 12 Billion Years Ago – Milky Way Galaxy
  • 6 Billion Years Ago – Our solar system and Sun forms
  • 4.6 Billion Years Ago – Formation of Earth
  • 3.5 Billion Years Ago – First Life
  • 3.2 Billion Years Ago – Moon assumes present shape
  • 3 Billion Years Ago – Photosynthesis, blue-green algae

Timelines can differ within a few billion years on the time of the Big Bang, and differ by a million years or less for other events. Here are other universe timelines:

We’re about to head to Nederland to get a demonstration by our friends there on fossils and take a look at what they have. Then head to Boulder to go to the library to get a few books on big numbers so we can further explore how very big million and billion is!

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: