Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nature Walk Takes a Deadly Turn

not Riah's foot ( my camera was charging) courtesy of
Ahh yes, the cool weather beckoned us to start our nature journaling bright and early, at around 6:30 am. This was a perfect time period for us because we needed to observe some ants at work. We stepped outside and it was so pleasant. The air was cool, refreshing and everything was quiet. The kids and I took off and quietly kept our eyes on the ground looking for any sign of ants or their colonies. Per one book we've been reading, there are 7,000,000 ants per every 1 insect so I was pretty confident we would find some.

Oh did we ever! There were some black ants busy searching for food and moving it back to the nest. All four of us crouched down and observed. After awhile, I took the tip of my pen and gently pressed it into one of the holes. Black ants everywhere came rushing out, ready to fight. It was really interesting to watch the work ethic that the ants had, no matter the perpetrator. After observing this for a time, we set off again.

Not more than a minute later Austen and Moriah started screaming bloody murder, jumping around and flailing. We had come upon a red ant nest and they were EVERYWHERE! The quiet, still morning was literally shattered by screams of terror. Did I mention that both of my children that were being attacked are also horribly afraid of ants in general ( I was trying to debunk that fear for them, no such luck). I set about slapping their legs and whipping their sandals off to shake out any evil ants. The red ants are ruthless, simply ruthless. The kids kept screaming and screaming and jumping and dancing, anything to get those ants out of the crevices of their poor toes and I kept slapping and slapping. I felt so bad for them. Finally, after much beating, the kids and the ants, we were ant free and both had little welts all over their feet :(

We quickly walked away from THOSE ants and almost abandoned our nature walk when I tried one more time to revive our "quiet, peaceful, morning" walk. Finally, from a distance, we viewed a large ant hill and hypothesized what the ants might be doing, since we had no desire to actually get closer to watch.

I ended up carrying Riah on my back, her baby stroller bumping against my knees and as we rounded the neighborhood we stood still and listened and watched, in an ant free zone. Let me just say, forget the ants. We listened to chickadees fluttering and tweeting, two large birds that appeared to be geese flying overhead and sprinklers turning on. The kids than, right on the sidewalk, squatted down and recorded their sightings in their journal. Moriah drew a picture of a bird in the journal.  My favorite, all time favorite moment was when Austen sat down and tapped his chin, looked into the sky and said, " I saw 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 birds ( wrote those down in his journal) and 2 flying ostriches." I couldn't help bust our laughing. We walked home, on the opposite side of the sidewalk past the treacherous valley of red ants. When we arrived back to the home front, Ben was up ( the poor guy has been deathly sick lately) and I told him about the two flying ostriches, we were laughing so hard we could hardly breathe. Love you Austen!

Later today, we listened again to "High Hopes" and the " Ants Go Marching". We also read about the Grebe and the Woodcock and how they display responsibility. If you have never researched or read about these birds, I highly recommend it. We used Character Sketches. I also read a chapter from 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith.

Tomorrow we will finish up our ant study by making ants on the log and learning more about the various jobs within the ant colony and reading some more books. I am very excited about next week's topic as we will delve into history for six weeks to round out the rest of our unit.

1 comment:

Heather@Cultivated Lives said...

Yikes. Xander has this kind of reaction to any kind of ant bite and swells up... I hope she isn't too scarred from her experience. btw, I love the pics of her in her cubbies vest. Adorable!!!