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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Travel Diary - Alaska

Where to begin?  This has been an amazing trip!  My husbands sister and her family live in North Pole, Alaska.  We flew out here on July 6th and planned to stay for one week.  On the way to their house from the airport, we saw a moose crossing the road. They are HUGE! One of the first places we visited was the Alaskan Pipeline.

The first three days we had beautiful weather and spent lots of time exploring the great outdoors of the Alaskan Interior.  They have two Rzrs (4 wheel ATVs) that were tons of fun for riding on the trails and playing in the big mud puddles.

On one of our rides, we saw moose tracks and we even ran into some firefighters who were getting ready to make a cut line. Of course, I went into teacher mode and conducted an impromptu mini interview on the spot.

Day three took a turn for the worse when our oldest son flipped a Rzr on its' side, resulting in a broken humerus and dislocated elbow. Two hours in surgery, two plates, and 8 screws later... good as new (sort of). Of course, I plan on using the x-rays when teaching about the skeletal system.

Our one week vacation turned into two weeks because Jared couldn't fly right away.  At least that gave us time to enjoy ourselves as much as possible while he recuperated. The guys still got to go fishing resulting in one incredible fish fry.

We went to the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska, out to dinner at the Pump House, and of course we went to see Santa and the reindeer!

All in all, this was a great vacation!  So, where will I tie this in to the NC Essential Standards?  You know that is always in the back of mind.  I'm thinking:
1.L.1.2 Give examples of how the needs of different plants and animals can be met by their environments in North Carolina or different places throughout the world.

1.L.1.3 Summarize ways that humans protect their environment and/or improve conditions for the growth of the plants and animals that live there. (e.g., reuse or recycle products to avoid littering.)
4.L.1.1 Give examples of changes in an organism’s environment that are beneficial to it and some that are harmful.
By creating a cut line, the firefighters are protecting the rest of the forest as well as the nearby neighborhoods if a forest fire were to break out.

3.L.1.1 Compare the different functions of the skeletal and muscular system.
3.L.1.2 Explain why skin is necessary for protection and for the body to remain healthy.
5.L.1.2 Compare the major systems of the human body (digestive, respiratory, circulatory, muscular, skeletal, and cardiovascular) in terms of their functions necessary for life
Take a look at the x-rays and photos of my sons arm after the accident, before surgery, and after surgery.

3.L.2.4 Explain how the basic properties (texture and capacity to hold water) and components (sand, clay and humus) of soil determine the ability of soil to support the growth and survival of many plants.
3.L.2.2 Explain how environmental conditions determine how well plants survive and grow.
5.L.2.1 Compare the characteristics of several common ecosystems, including estuaries and salt marshes, oceans, lakes and ponds, forests, and grasslands).
5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).
5.L.2.3 Infer the effects that may result from the interconnected relationship of plants and animals to their ecosystem.
We took video of the swampland that makes up much of the Alaskan Interior along with the plant life and signs of animal life. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Travel Diary - Niagara Falls

  Today was spent experiencing the Niagara Falls Aquarium and the American side of the falls. Over the years, I've spent plenty of time at the falls.  It is always a great place to visit and a nice place to spend time with family. This time I wanted to get some pictures and video that could enhance my science lessons too. I wasn't disappointed.  

We spent about an hour in the aquarium. (It isn't very big.) The turtles, anemones, poison frogs, penguins, seahorses and sea lions were a big hit.

 I got some great shots that I can definitely use as discussion starters while meeting NC science essential standard 5.L.2 Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.

We headed over to the falls and walked around a little before deciding to splurge on a ride on "The Maid of the Mist."  As many times as I've been to the falls, this is something I have never done.  The pictures and video I got while riding the boat are well worth it. I found out that my phone and iPod Touch work well even when there is water driving at you pretty hard. After the boat ride, we walked up the steps beside the falls.  I think we got even more wet doing this.  So much for the plastic poncho!  Alright so where do I plan on using this experience? How about NC essential standard 4.E.2.3 Give examples of how the surface of the earth changes due to slow processes such as erosion and weathering, and rapid processes such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. 

Enjoy the pictures and make sure to stop by to check out the lesson plans once I get them developed.