The kids have enjoyed studying animals all summer around here. They've focused on insects but we've also studied squirrels, dogs, rabbits and turkeys. Yes, turkeys. Though we live in a suburb of a very large city, we have a gang of wild turkeys who have chosen a home nearby. We pass by them nearly every day at some point. I'll try to snap some pictures for you but I'm usually driving so we'll see what I can get safely. ;) Maybe we need to take a walk up there and hunt for them.
But they want more info now. Like, what actually makes birds fly? And are squirrels and woodchucks related?
So I found a series of books that we are really enjoying. It's a series by Jeannie Fulbright and called Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. It is written for grades K-6 (but I'm learning things and not feeling 'talked down' to!). We go over the subject matter, I find out what they absorbed and we move on. I can see these books as great reference materials and books that we do several times in the years to come, learning more each time around as our interests grow. Jeannie has two more books in the zoology series on land animals and swimming creatures. She also has books on biology, chemistry, botany, astronomy, etc. It's a great series and we're having fun with it.
So what does enable birds to fly? Is it the amount of force they exert on the air? No, it's lift. The neat experiment we did was this:
1. fill a cup with water and put a straw in it
2. take another straw and blow across the top of the first straw (in the fashion of blowing across the top of a glass soda bottle to make a sound)
What happens? Try it and see. :)