Monday, August 12, 2013

Alphabet Adventures: I is for Insect Investigation

We had thought about doing I is for ice cream, which seems like a logical summer choice, for our newest Alphabet Adventure. But we have already gone to get ice cream a few times this summer and we wanted to do something new. Lately Big Brother's been very interested in insects and we decided that a fun "I" adventure would be an "Insect Investigation." (Kudos to my husband who added the "investigation" part as I was just going to call it an insect search.)

The Adventure
This was one adventure we could do in our backyard, the woods behind our house, and over near our neighbors' pond. As it's been really wet we all put on some clothes that could get muddy and our rubber boots. I also put together this graph so we could track the insects we found. We don't have a clip board at home, so I used an old cereal box and a binder clip. The insects on the graph were: beetles, ants, butterflies, ladybugs, grasshoppers, and dragonflies. I knew we'd see others, but didn't want to make our graph too broad.

Before heading out on our walk the insect in our clue bag gave us a good opportunity to talk about what an insect really is. I pointed out it needed to have six legs, three body parts, and antennae. Big Brother latched onto the idea of six legs as an indicator pretty quickly. 

We found several insects near our gardens. Once in the woods we enjoyed looking under logs and rocks, on old stumps, and under tree bark on fallen trees. After the woods we made our way to our neighbors' pond where there was some variety in the insects we had been finding. Each time we found an insect we marked a square on our graph. 

In the end, we had found quite a few insects and collected good information on our graph. We'd also found a few not on the list, which we wrote down, and several non-insect animals like spiders and frogs. 

And that evening, we had the opportunity to enjoy some ice cream anyway. 

Book Note: Although there are many awesome books about insects, for this adventure we spent time looking at a handful on nonfiction books about insects and not necessarily reading a story. 

The Project
I is for ice painting. Earlier in the middle of the hottest part of summer I noticed several Pinterest pins on painting with ice. I knew that would be perfect for the letter "I" project.

To begin with I used a small ice cube tray meant for a dorm sized refrigerator. I filled each section halfway with liquid watercolor (but I think you could use regular tempera paint) and then added water. I didn't fill them so full that they would spill over into one another. I put a toothpick in each one. I then froze them for several hours.

We popped them out of the tray and Big Brother was instantly able to start painting with them. As he painted, and they melted, they left beautiful trails of color. 

On his second sheet he decided to take two at a time and race them across the paper. 

Big Brother was enjoying them so much he asked me to save them in the freezer for another day (which we did.)  

Other "I" adventure ideas: ice cream parlor/window/factory, igloo, and something inside.

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