Am I the only one revved up for some educational fun this weekend? Celebrating Presidents Lincoln & Washington’s birthday, Backyard Bird Count, and for you local Northern California folk, UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day!! I admit I may be even more excited about some of this then my children….Now, on to the links so you can get revved too!
For you President’s day purists, Enrichment Studies has a sale on all of their President’s day resources (currently though the 12th President). But their resource on George Washington is FREE as a “sample”!! There are links to lesson plans, timelines, lapbook/worksheet pages, and multimedia resources, including both short & long videos, and links to free Kindle books.
We own these next ones, but you may be able to find them free through your local library. I’ve provided Amazon links (affiliate) so you can see them. We read the chapters on George Washington out of A First Book in American History: With Special Reference to the Lives and Deeds of Great Americans. George Washington was a way trickier guy than we ever realized! My boys recounted to their father with glee stories of Washington’s “Christmas present” of 1000 captured soldiers after crossing the Delaware, and his misdirection and successful sneak around General Cornwallis’ troops during the Revolutionary War. Love finding a way to catch my children’s actual interest in an important historical figure or events…
I have plans to go through George Washington’s Rules of Civility
with my boys, and have them try to make a “modern translation” for themselves. Amazon has a free Kindle version.
In the car, we’ve started listening to the Jim Weiss recording Abraham Lincoln and the Heart of America. While I actually think the CD so far somewhat overemphasizes slavery to seem like the ONLY cause that led up to the Civil War, it has put a more human face on both Lincoln and some of the slavery issues that has engendered some good discussions already with my 8 & 5 year old.
This President’s Day weekend is also the Great Backyard Bird Count. In 15 minutes, your kids can make an ACTUAL contribution to the study of ornithology! A great way to get a little science education/nature study, and actually help with real research as a citizen-scientist. If you are as poor as I am at identifying any but the most basic of birds, I highly recommend the FREE Merlin Bird ID app. Starting with your location & the time of year, it uses quick visual selections (so my pre-readers can even do much of it) to narrow down your options. It will then give a list of “best matches” to confirm your identification, which includes actual photos of the birds, ID tips, range maps, and recording of their sounds. My kids have really enjoyed the recordings of the bird sounds- we’ve noticed the real birds responding at times to the recordings! FYI, it is a pretty giant app. The current android version is over 600 MB!
For us lucky local folks, I HIGHLY recommend you drag your kids out to the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. There will be 11 different “research collections” open to see, and entrance & parking is free. I took all three of my munchkins last year, and they had a BLAST. We actually only made it to two of the “museums”- the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the Museum of Wildlife & Fish Biology (which are in the same building). I am hoping we can make it to the Paleontology Museum & Raptor Center this year. Museum seems a bit of a misnomer, as the exhibits were more in what I think of as some of the large lab classrooms I spent time in in college, but with all kinds of stuff pulled out to display on the tables, and hallways, etc., with lots of students and faculty to help tell you about them. Everyone was very friendly, and my children struck up conversations with the people that turned out to be the PhDs in charge of each respective museum/department. The head of the Museum of Wildlife & Fish Biology was actually at a table making bird specimens, and happily talked about his work as an ornithologist and what was involved in making the specimens, all while stuffing and sewing up a preserved songbird. You could tell these people are passionate about their field, and totally willing to help spark a light for the upcoming generation!
Here are a few pictures of my kids enjoying it last year.
The University of California Davis is a large campus, and while they had some signs up to help you navigate around for museum day, I still found it a tad confusing as someone not previously familiar with it. I would really recommend you print out the maps for your self before you go.
Hope you all of a wonderfully educational weekend! Leave me a comment to let me know if you get a chance to try any of these resources, or if there are other great ones I should know about!
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