Art and Science of the Land: Week 6 & 7

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10/16/2018 Mid-semester campfire

Before enjoying a campfire with our families and fellow homeschoolers, we continued our lesson on leaves.  With fall colors starting to show we started with an experiment to learn more about the colors that make up leaves in the fall.  In this experiment we gathered three different colors of leaves, green, yellow and red.  We then tore the leaves into tiny pieces, placed them in a container and filled the container with rubbing alcohol just high enough to cover the leaves.  We then placed a coffee filter in the container.  As a group we made predictions for the color the coffee filter would turn and also what color the leaves would turn since the alcohol is essentially sucking the color pigments out of the leaves and transferring them to the coffee filter.  Some of us predicted the leaves would turn brown, others white.

Setting our experiment aside to work its magic we hiked to the gazebo, shared weekend stories and ate snack.  Before the campfire we are going to create a leaf inspired art installation so we started gathering colorful leaves.  Hiking down the Valley Wall Trail, we stopped at the bridge over the ponds and reviewed our Dissolved Oxygen test results from the other stream.  Water at Irvine is pretty healthy!  Choosing a huge rock as our location we started assembling our art installation.  Some of us created our own patterns around the bottom of the rock and Jackson had the idea to push mud onto the rock so we could stick leaves, sticks and grass in it.

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Leaving our art so our families could see it after the campfire, we hiked down to the barn with kindling in hand, and gathered around the campfire.  We discussed the three ingredients for a fire (fuel, a spark and oxygen) and campfire safety.

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10/23/2018

Today we got to see the results of our chlorophyll experiment.  We had discussed that chlorophyll makes leaves appear green in the spring and summer but when that chlorophyll dies off in fall (generally sparked by a few cold nights) other pigments come through.  Yellow pigments are called flavonoids, orange pigments are called carotenoids and red pigments are called anthocyanins.  The colors seeped up into the coffee filter and created various colors of rings.  We cut up the coffee filters and placed them in our journals.  Sarah Jane is holding up her journal with the red leaf coffee filter.

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We then got a special treat from Ms. Jenna and we got to sit in on the viewing of three of Irvine’s animal ambassadors!  The animals we got to see were the bearded dragon, leucistic black rat snake and a diamondback terrapin.  A lot of the kids knew some of the cool facts about the animals, like how the snake smells, what the shell of the terrapin is made from and so on.  The shell of the diamondback terrapin is actually made from the same thing that makes up your hair and nails, keratin!

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After the animal viewing we hiked to the gazebo, stopped for snack and our show and tell.  Leo brought an awesome mini magic trick and Lev had a riddle she shared.  Here is the riddle: “This thing has a key but no lock and fits under a door but can hold the whole world?”  Want to know the answer?  Find out at the end of the blog!  We hiked through the meadow to collect some of the amazing red maple leaves that have fallen from the trees because we planned to do an art installation at the Native American site.

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Splitting into two groups, some of us went to the Native American site while the other group got to play and explore in the seven sycamore tree.  We later switched.  At the Native American site we briefly explored the longhouse and wigwam and looked at the dugout canoe and then found a perfect spot to build our art installation.  In the longhouse we imaged what it would have been like to live during the time of the Lenape people and share this longhouse with our entire family.  We imaged cooking our food in here over a fire, how we would make our clothes and what we would have done as children during that time (gathering food, hunting, playing).  Outside, it was warm that day and a bit windier so we chose a shaded spot right next to the wigwam.  Using various sticks and the leaves we decided to start creating our own mini village.  We constructed a forest of sticks with leaves stuck in them in the center and then a few of us built teepees and wigwams, decorating them with bark and leaves.   Some of the other things we constructed were a tiny bow made by Sarah Jane, a canoe in a river made by Arianna and mini campfires using red leaves thought up by Julien.  Everyone had such great ideas and contributions and we were all very brought of the mini village we created.  Fiona put it well: “We are all working on this together, we should have fun making it” and we did!

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The answer to the riddle?  A map!

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