Last week we spent quite a bit of time outside enjoying the wildlife in our yard. We are really lucky in that we see a wide variety of critters every day. We spotted a little Northern Brown Snake, a small mouse that was in the strawberry garden (corralled briefly in an empty pot and then released) and a toad.
We also came across a large millipede (probably four inches or so). [That’s our dog, Boomer, who is intrigued by anything that moves. She’s a Red Heeler (mix), an Australian Cattle dog we got from the RSPCA when we lived in central Australia.]
I happened to ask ED whether the millipede was a vertebrate or invertebrate and she didn’t know what I meant. It was time to bring out our vertebrate-invertebrate sorting cards again! This time I used the set I had made when we studied the forest last fall because many of them are photos of critters we took right here in our yard and the surrounding woods. I worked with ED on her own and we went over the difference between invertebrates (without a backbone) and vertebrates (has a backbone/internal skeleton). Then she sorted the cards into four of the five vertebrate groups (amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals — we didn’t have any pictures of fish in these cards).
If you are interested in our forest sorting cards for sorting into invertebrate-vertebrate groups you can download them here. You need to type or write out your own labels, thought (invertebrates, vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals — remember I didn’t include any pictures of fish in this set).
If you’re going into more detail about the five kingdoms or invertebrates and vertebrates here are a couple other links: I really like the vertebrate-invertebrate charts and cards from homemade montessori and have also used the 5-kingdom cards she made as well.
UPDATE: I made some Vertebrates-Invertebrates Montessori Cards and 5 Vertebrate Groups. You can find them here:
When DD and LD sorted through the cards a little while later, we talked a lot about where the eggs of each group are laid (amphibians lay their eggs in or near water; reptiles lay their eggs on land; birds often lay their eggs in nests). We talked a lot about the eggs we’ve seen this spring — the strings of toads eggs in the water and the birds’ egg ED found a week or so ago where the little chick obviously didn’t make it:
We then pulled out the Transparent Bull Frog kit that the kids got for Christmas. I had set it aside for use in the spring once the frogs and toads were out in full force! The kids put the skeleton together, but we were daunted by the internal organs so we put it aside for use later:
Finally, we all went outside and made pet-rock frogs. The kids loved doing this — it had been ages since we made pet-rocks!
LD and DD finished off this little mini-unit on frogs by reading the chapter on frogs in Real Science 4 Kids, Biology Pre-Level 1. I really love these student texts (we have biology, chemistry and physics) as they are very easy to understand and accessible for my kids. LD and DD were both able to read (and understand) this chapter on their own. [The kids read the physics, pre-level 1 earlier this semester–LD (age 8) read it on his own, DD (age 6) and I read and discussed it together.]
You may be interested in these related posts:
- Invertebrate-Vertebrate Unit Study: Montessori Activities:
- Working With Mealworms:
- We also studied Earthworms: Hands-On Invertebrate Fun! Part I – Earthworms and the earthworm life cycle
- We also studied Planaria (a type of flatworm): Hands-On Invertebrate Fun! Part II – Planarian – which you can order. They are easy to care for and are fascinating to study because they regenerate.