Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 23 - 2016-17 Edition - Retzer Visit #5

Wisconsin threw us another curve ball this week. Back in January, we visited the Retzer Nature Center with intentions of tracking and snowshoeing. However, the fifty degrees and clear trails had other plans. This week, with the Retzer naturalists visiting our school, we were supposed to be on a search for signs of spring. A foot of snow and 20 degree temperatures later, we decided to tweak plans. We ended up with the best of both worlds.

We started our spring discussion by hearing Ms. Janet read the story Mud, by Mary Lyn Ray. Then of course, we had to enjoy the mud. Mr. Larry brought in some magic mud he found by a natural spring. With it came a sure sign of spring: skunk cabbage. I think the class enjoyed the sight of it much more than the smell.

We then traveled back to the regular classroom to hear another springtime story, 999 Frogs Wake Up, by Ken Kimura. After talking about the life cycle of frogs, we were able to see some tadpoles. A large green frog tadpole and three African Clawed Frog tadpoles were enjoyed by all.

After our spring learning, we went outside to snowshoe for signs of spring. It might seem strange to look for signs of spring in a foot of freshly fallen snow, but we did it and we did it well.

Though getting 100 kindergartners in snowshoes can be a bit tricky, we managed. Once ready, we hot the trails and found coyote tracks instantly. The coyote has been a  frequent visitor to the trail camera lately so it was very cool to see his tracks. The kids were amazed that he followed the trail just like we do.

The kids enjoyed finding the snow crusts that had formed with the recent freeze and thaw cycle we are having.We heard lots of birds, saw a few buds from the trees and saw many tracks, including coyote, birds, fix, squirrel, deer, bunny, and of course, leprechaun.

After heading back in and thawing out ourselves, we resumed last week's owl pellet activity. Today, our goal was to take the bones we had unearthed last week and use them to piece together the prey of our owl friend, It worked very well with our science unit of the human body as we talked about how we might feel if we "coughed" up the food we couldn't digest. the kids also loved identifying the bones and figuring out how to make the skeleton.

Another great learning experience with our Retzer friends and a snowshoe spring day  in the books. Until next time. . .

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog on 12x12 after reading your manuscript Sunrise Surprise. I love your activities with the kindergartners. I am working on creating an outdoor learning lab at my school and got several ideas from your posts. Thank you. I think I'll take my third graders out to it tomorrow to look for signs of spring. Don't think we'll find coyote tracks but betting on lots of deer sign. Our skunk cabbages are popping out as well.