Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Samuel's Zoo Notebook

I mention this often under the Science/Nature Study heading of blog entries, and since this is an ongoing project, I thought I'd take some time to describe it.

I am a sometimes scrapbooker. I am usually about a year behind, but Samuel loves my scrapbooks and asks to look at them often. Of course, he is the main subject of most of them of the last 5 1/2 years!

Since Samuel loves animals, we go to the zoo often. While other kids are running from one animal to the next, Samuel "observes" each animal for more than a few seconds. While other kids are shouting "hey look at the monkeys", Samuel knows that they are actually lemurs and the names of the 3 different kinds of lemurs in the exhibit at that. That is just his "thing" like other kids might be into dinosaurs (Samuel couldn't tell you much about them) or cars (knows nothing beyond the color of the car). So we usually visit a zoo when we are on vacation and between these trips and our local zoo trips, we have a LOT of pictures.

When Samuel was four, I started a Zoo Notebook with him. First we bought a cheap 3-ring binder in his favorite color (orange) and he helped me design the cover with a picture of himself eating pizza at the zoo and the title of "Samuel's Own Zoo Book". I anticipate he will want to change this when he gets older :-)

Next I sorted all the pictures by animal and asked him to pick an animal. He chose the Red Panda which we saw at the Atlanta Zoo. I asked him to tell me something about the Red Panda which I wrote in the journal box. The page ended up looking like this:
Red Panda Notebook Page
If you can't read the journalling, it says:

"Once upon a time, there was a little red panda, and the red panda climbed up a tree and he went into his cozy warm house. I saw this at the Atlanta Zoo." :-)

Clearly, I had a little work to do on the journalling aspect of this project. For the pages after that, I would first ask him what he knew about the animal, then we would go to wikipedia, where I would read him some of the facts from that animal's entry. THEN, I would ask him to tell me about the animal and I would write it down. It's been a process. The last page we did was a few weeks ago on the Polar Bear, which I think we saw in Palm Beach, FL.
Polar Bear Notebook Page
The journalling reads: "Polar Bears eat seals. They live in the Arctic and spend a lot of time on the frozen sea. They like ice because it helps them hunt for seals. The polar bear is an excellent swimmer. They are a vulnerable species which means they are endangered."

He also is now designing the pages himself, picking the colors, papers and stickers and placing them where he wants them on the page.

After the first few pages, I added some alphabet tabs and put the animals in alphabetical order. I can see this being something that Samuel continues to add to and the pages getting a little more descriptive. I have an idea to go back and add the Latin Scientific names of the animals at some point.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! My son's like this with cars. He knows pretty much every make and model manufactured and can list all kinds of facts about each one, and he's only 5. :)

    I was wondering how you put the little voting buttons at the end of your post? I'd like to do the same, but can't seem to figure out how.