Friday, June 8, 2012

Field Trip Report: Shape Hunt at the Zoo

Oval eyes, triangular head and noes.  Such a cute baby goat.
 Field Trip number two...and a shape hunt, too!

We are fortunate to live very close to a small, local zoo.  It's nothing extraordinary and a lot of people pooh-pooh it because it's sorta dusty and sorta poopy and sorta small, but...we really like it.  It's small enough for the kids to run wherever they want, and familiar enough that they have their favorite animals but still see new things every other time we go.  I'd like to pass along my "easily amused" gene to them; my fingers are crossed that they'll keep that in tact for the rest of their life.

This first half-week of summer was "Shape Week" at our house.  I doubt that every week will have a theme along with a field trip, but I needed a framework in which to work in a bunch of books, activities, and just general fun.  I'm not a math whiz but because we are so book-focused at our house I'm especially eager to provide math and science twists on anything I can so as not to brand our kids, especially Lorelei, as ONLY good at language arts.
How cool is this?!
Triangular neck, lines out, triangles at the end of the feathers.

Circles for eyes, triangular webbed feet.
Shapes are just a foundation piece for geometry, and as my kids are 5, 3 1/2, (he got a shape puzzle that he threw around...), they are just learning the basics.  There are so many activities when teaching shapes that it's pointless to list them here, especially because I'm supposed to be writing about the books involved in this whole child-rearin' thing.  But google it if you're looking for something to do on a hot summer afternoon and you'll find a ton.  We had a great time playing with food, making shapes out of shapes, drawing with shapes, using shapes as the base of a piece of artwork.  I knew the kids really got into it when this afternoon at swim practice they actually SWAM in shapes--Lorelei, a triangle; Ben, a rectangle.  The lesson is clear: if you are enthusiastic about something, your kids will be as well.

Kiefer and I had mixed feelings about the llamas...we were
worried about spit and couldn't look for shapes.
But really, teaching them to look for shapes is, for me, about sharpening their sight.  Looking beyond what is simply in front of them.  Being observant.  I can't tell you how important I think this is--about learning from simply watching and looking and observing.  Hopefully I taught them the basics of this lesson.

So we went to the zoo--which was actually our fallback as the botanical garden didn't open until late morning and looked for shapes.  We looked at the animals' faces and found circles and triangles and ovals.  We saw feeding bins shaped like rectangles and lines, or stripes, on snakes and zebras.  Ben said that a snake was a line when slithering and a circle when wrapped up.  On the tractor we saw big circles and little circles as the wheels, and we even saw cylinder cages for some animals (gold star for Lorelei!).  The antelope had cones for horns.  See all the stuff you can find if you just look?

Field trip number two for the summer...already behind us.

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