Archive | April, 2013
26 Apr

WOW (Lily)! We just studied cardinal directions yesterday and BOOM, right when we went outside we saw a compass rose on the path in the herb wheel (Will)! 
On the path the directions marked were northwest, southwest, northeast, and southeast (Bhavya). An Eagle Scout carved the compass and it was so cool seeing it on the path and there are so many other things we saw (Price, Kayla). The Eagle Scout also carved us an ABC path in the native garden (Herath). Some of us followed the path in alphabetical order (Sierra). 
We saw Monarch caterpillars and we hope to see them when they turn into butterflies (Abby). 
Pumpkins are sprouting from the ground (Max). They came from seeds from an old pumpkin we buried last year (Kara). The weather was nice but it was so foggy, we thought our eyes were blurry (Nathan). 

Today our assignment was to find different plant parts and rename them according to what their job is for the plant. We renamed roots to Sucker-Ground-Grabbers (Bridget). 
Stems were renamed to Cylinder Suckers (Vilina). Pretty Pollen Producers was the new name for flowers (Elliot) and finally leaves were renamed to Sun Grabbers. 
It was fun looking closely at the plant parts in our groups because we could compare them. For example some of the leaves were bumpy, some were soft and smooth, and some were poky and pointy (Kara, Vilina). 


We learned that every plant part has a job that makes the plant live just like us!  



Bugs everywhere we look

15 Apr

There are bugs all around us, especially in the garden, but we often don’t see them because they are tiny and are masters of hiding.  And there are around 5500 species of mammals discovered, there are 1,000,000 species of insects discovered.  Check out the chart below. 
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Think about it, 1,000,000 species of insects and we estimate that we have only discovered 20%, which means there could be around 5,000,000 species of insects.  And 600,000 species of arachnids (only 17% discovered) are estimated.  Amazing and helps us put into perspective our place in the garden.  We talk to the kids a lot about how they are just visitors in the garden and being respectful of those living things that make their home in the garden.  DSC_0023-001
Well, we had a wonderful chance to get up close and personal with bugs a few weeks ago when Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife entomologist, came to talk with the Titan garden classes. 
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Wizzie discussed and displayed many types of arhtropods including insects, and arachnids.  We discussed what kinds of habitats they live in, why they might use venom and how they do the cool things they do (like walk up a wall of stand on the ceiling).  The kids got to look up close at things they might never see again, like Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (above) and Emperor Scorpions. They saw the molted skin of a Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula and a local Texas Brown Tarantula. They also saw examples of two notorious local spiders, the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow, and we discussed how to identify these dangerous spiders and what to do if you see one. 
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Yes, some “ew”s and “gross” comments but the kids had wonderful questions about bug behavior.  1st grade and Kindergarten even got to try out walking like a bug which different students acting as the different body parts.  Not an easy task!
Thanks to Wizzie Brown for visiting with our Titan Gardeners and broadening their horizons.