Thursday, January 25, 2007

Building a nest

Last night was our local homeschool Science Fair, and we didn't go. We could have given quite an interactive presentation on GERMS and the spread of influenza. Instead, we opted to stay home, blow our noses, drink hot tea, and reminisce about last year's Science Fair, otherwise known as, the time Sunburst built a nest and Moonshine laid an egg.

It all started when we decided to partake in the Great Backyard Bird Count. All that winter bird watching inspired Sunburst, then age 6.5, to think about birds and nests. She had lots of questions, and we checked out a pile of books from the library. She was fascinated by the idea that birds make their nest out of almost anything, and she decided she would try to build a nest, too. How hard could it be? And which materials would she use?

It was her own brain child, and I let her run with it. She came up with this nest, which was almost too heavy for her to lift, and then narrated a little "how-to" piece:

Coincidentally, we happened to find a REAL nest that had been dislodged from it's usual place, probably by a gardener or a strong wind. Sunburst brought it along as part of her display, although it was teeming with mites.

Along with her nest display, Sunburst presented a poster* on the various nesting materials. She chose to discuss the first two components on her poster... poop and spit! She explained in great detail "bird nest soup!" and the cleverness of birds by adding carnivore poop to their nests to scare off predators. A healthy debate among her peers ensued:

Naysayer #1: "Ewww, that's too gross! Who would eat a nest?"

Naysayer #2: "Or spit?!"

(grinning madly): "Well, they eat it in a soup, called Bird Nest Soup."

Naysayer #3: "People eat nests? In soup? I don't think this is true. How do you know about this?"

Sunburst: "Yes, it is true. I read about it in a book."

Obviously poop and spit were a huge hit and she had the whole crowd giggling (even the parents!) She was very cute.

Moonshine, then 3.5 years, not to be left out of the fun, decided that her contribution would be an egg. She crafted this one out of playdough.

It was their first learning fair, and they've been hooked ever since!

*That's a lot of neat handwriting for a 6.5 year old. To help Sunburst make it happen, I lightly penciled in the larger words and she went over them with a marker. She drew the pictures and glued on the "stuff." To simulate poop, she painted a dry chunk of TVP with acrylic paint. The gross factor prevails every time.

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