Hands on Learning: Fishery Tour and Halloween Experiments

I absolutely love the days we can do hands on things for our learning. It makes our days flow that much easier and it seems the learning is way more interesting then some of our regular school days. This week we toured the fishery and learned about the different fish that come to spawn. We also did five different Halloween themed experiments. One was a fail but that is ok as we will try again next week 🙂

We started out at the Fishery. This is the time of year that the Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, and Brown Trout swim up stream to spawn. I always thought that the fish were released if they weren’t old enough to spawn. If the salmon come back then it is the end of their journey. They are let loose when small and the salmon then swim to the ocean where they spend a good church of their life. When they are ready to spawn they start swimming back to their home stream. This is the end of the life cycle. They are one of the few fish that can live in both salt and fresh water. It takes a toll on their bodies. The only salmon we did see was the Chinook. I didn’t see any Coho salmon yet. They use to spawn in spring but have been switching to fall over the last few years. They harvest the eggs and then they go to different ponds around the state to raise them. In Spring the Lake Sturgeon swim up stream to spawn. So I can’t wait until spring to see.

We started out the tour by the damn where the tour guide explained to us about the salt and fresh water and the salmon. We learned that they went up the ladders to get to their final place in the pond. The salmon are very determined when you watch them. I literally could sit there and watch them for hours. We went back to where they collect the eggs. They explained how eggs are collected and how the fish are put to sleep to harvest the egg and sperm. After that we went to a picnic table where there was a male and female salmon. The two salmon’s were dissected. It was really interesting as the eggs just flowed out of the female. There were tons! My daughter of course was right up there feeling and playing in the eggs. She got to touch a fish heart. The male we saw the testies, the swim bladder, heart, intestine, and I can’t remember what else.

The whole dissecting thing opened new doors with my daughter. I swear the girl is going to become some sort of biologist when she grows up. I will be buying a whole new science curriculum for biology. In this curriculum my daughter will be using a microscope, and dissecting some different things. She is so super excited to get started. I can’t say I am as excited but I am totally excited for her. This is a HUGE thing for us. It is a subject she is totally interested in.

As we were walking back to the car we noticed these little boxes on the trees. I thought they were bird houses but they are not. Mice have built a nest and you see a few different kinds of mice in these nests. They are so small and tiny. They move very quick.

I also noticed different pine cones on the ground and some fungus…..aka mushrooms. I have never saw this type of mushroom before and thought that it was really interesting. I didn’t look it up yet to see exactly what kind it was. I do plan on looking it up.

We did head to the park that was down the road from the fishery to hang out with other homeschoolers. The kids spent most of the time on the merry go round. There was so much laughter and fun to be had. After the park we headed to my house for lunch. After lunch more fun started!!

We started out by learning about static electricity. We watched a short video on youtube that explained static electricity and what it was. While the kids were watching the video, I cut out red tissue paper ghosts. Once the video was done, the kids then drew a face and on their ghost and taped the bottom of the ghost to the table. They were give a balloon to blow up. They rubbed their hair with the ballon and then held the balloon close to the tissue paper to raise the ghost up. As you can see my daughters hair got a little crazy from the balloon.

Our next experiment was with water, oil, and vinegar. We wanted to see in which solution the candy corn would dissolve the fastest. We kept looking at it every five minutes. We found the water and vinegar to dissolve the same, however, the vinegar and some neat carvings into the melting candy corn. The oil didn’t do anything. The kids had to predict which one would dissolve faster.

Our next experiment was with different types of candy. We used a snickers, milky way, m&m, and a marshmallow peep. The kids had to guess if it was going to sink or float. We watched to see if there was any changes to the candy. They were asked to figure out why they sank and why they float. The difference in the nougat. We made observations on how they were the same and different.

The last thing the kids did was to build a tower or object out of tooth picks and candy corn marshmallows. They couldn’t have help. They had to figure out how to get their structures to stand with out falling and how to make them sturdy. I think they had the most fun with this. One started out as a building but ended up as a rocket ship.

What better way to finish off an awesome school day then to enjoy a walk down by the beach. We collected stones to paint later on. We also went hunting for painted rocks and we did hide some as well. Of course you can’t forget the pokemon hunting that goes along with the rock hunting and hiding. It was a beautiful night.

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