Thursday, 12 September 2013

Gummy Bears and Hedgehogs

It's been a busy week, but one of those 'busy weeks' where you look back and can't really remember what you did to be so busy.  Anyway, I realised that I didn't write down the results of the gummy bear experiment from Rainy Day = Busy Day, so here goes.  We left the gummy bears in their various solutions for 24 hours, and then wrote down what had happened to each - their new size, and any other changes (in each photo the bear on the left is for comparison; the colour referred to in the table at the end is the colour of the test-tube lid and dish, not necessarily the bear)...

Tuesday (when we wrote down the results) was a very full day: craft club in the morning and science club in the afternoon.  Unfortunately that meant we didn't have time to investigate a little further, or suggest ideas for why we thought the different solutions had the noted effects, but it was still fun as far as we went.  We may repeat it another time when the second day is freer for extrapolations.

Wednesday was a very slow day.  The boys took a long time to do their Reading Eggs (I think they got carried away playing the games in extras) and then they all needed my input with their lapbooks, so I think there was a lot of waiting around and distracting themselves while they waited.  I had said we could go to 360 Play - a local soft play centre - in the afternoon (as requested on one of their post-its on the planner), but then we had to wait in all afternoon instead for a plumber who frustratingly didn't come in the end.  Still, I made sure we did 360 Play this afternoon - we were there for about four hours, and they all had a great time... and I even got to read some of my book!  Mums of toddlers, it may seem impossible right now, but there really will come a day when you can read a book while your kids play happily!!

In other news, regular readers may remember that last year we rescued some juvenile hedgehogs, and successfully rehabilitated them.  We have continued leaving food out for them all year, and caught a glimpse of them every now and again... and then the other night had the joy of spotting a new visiting juvenile (who has since been named 'Prickles').  I'd like to think Prickles is one of Squidge's offspring.  Anyway, we have been watching a wildlife programme that told how hedgehogs are predicted to become extinct by 2025 if we don't help, and this has inspired us to write a note to the neighbours, asking them to join a nationwide project called "Hedgehog Street".  Eldest drew a lovely hedgehog picture to go with the note, and made sure I included the six main points of having a hedgehog-friendly garden, as below...

"1/  Please avoid using slug pellets in your garden.  They cause slow painful deaths to hedgehogs.  Copper tape is a good alternative, if the hedgehogs don’t eat the slugs first!
2/  Please do not put bread and milk out for hedgehogs.  But please do leave food out for them.  The best food is cat/ dog food (not fish-based or the sort in gravy) – or dry cat/ dog biscuits.  A bowl of water is also helpful, until hibernation season (starting in December/ January).
3/ If you have a garden pond, make sure it has a sloping side or pile of stones at the edge to help a hedgehog climb out, should it fall in.
4/  Hedgehogs travel up to as much as a mile per night and prefer to avoid roads (for obvious reasons)  Please consider making a gap at the bottom of the fence between your garden and your neighbours’ (about 15cm sq) to help them travel in safety.
5/  Please check bonfires for inhabitants by gently raking it over immediately before setting alight.  Similarly, please check all ground-level areas before mowing/ strimming.
6/  If you see a hedgehog out during the day, it is in troublePlease pick it up (with garden gloves recommended) and put in a box with secure but ventilated lid – and take to your local hedgehog carer, or call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for further advice." 

Hopefully the boys and I can go and deliver the notes tomorrow... Eldest's ambition is currently to be a conservationist - so why not start now?!  I'm so grateful for the opportunities that home education gives us to pursue dreams and ambitions as soon as the interest arises, and for as long as it lasts - whether for a few weeks, or to adulthood and a career.  Either way, the children are learning while we get to help some of the cutest creatures we have come across living wild in this country... love it!

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