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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mad Scramble to Wildlife and Robotics

I spent the morning gathering up supplies and finishing power point presentations.  I also had the fun of teaching all of the information we needed to cover at Wildlife to Michael.  Yep...once again my super stunt double was taking on the work for me as I stayed home with Zaira.

What made this even more amazing is that Michael had his first Robotics meeting tonight also.  He still had to gather up all his supplies which meant one more round at the stores.  I am so thankful for him and hope that he and Paul have a good experience leading their project and the youth enjoy the experience as well.

Today Michael covered our first round of habitat management techniques and tree identification.  But first the group had the first animal presentation from Zachary about White-tailed Deer.  I heard he did a great job and I have his presentation (so cool!) on my computer at home.  Michael added to his presentation by showing a sneak peak of the techniques we will be learning related to deer in a couple of weeks.  Here are some websites for those interested in learning a little ahead of time:

Age of a Deer

Measuring Deer Antlers

Michael also did a quick review of the concepts learned last week.  We talked about communities (animal and plant species), ecosystems (area with living communities and nonliving resources together), and habitat needs for focal species (food, cover, water, space).

This is the list of habitat management practices discussed:

  • Animal Damage—(animal to animal) control pests that are damaging the target species
  • Population Management—(survey target species) monitors birth and death rates as well as age of population and sex ratios of target species
  • Brush Management—(woody plants) used to restore natural plant community, to give balance to ecosystem, for cover/forage quality, and to allow for diverse habitat needs
  • Food Plots—(help during stress periods) NOT BAITING; must have an average population to avoid further problems for target species, planting for needs of target species
  • Grazing Management—(livestock to wildlife) add or take away grazing livestock to assist wildlife, determined by stocking rate and kind of livestock…some wildlife and livestock are compatible with each other; also relates to the needs of the plant life to avoid pasture distress…allows for rest periods for pasture

Then he ended the day with a Power Point Presentation about tree identification by leaves. The group had an activity to identify leaves from trees and relate the animal preferences. They even had time to find trees behind the museum.

Then Michael raced over to the location for the Robotics training. I know he did not have a lot of time to prepare and set up before 4Hers started to arrive. However, the evening went well.

There were about 16 youth and nice adults gathered in the building. The large group was divided up into smaller multi-age teams to learn about the first module. They first got a large pile of miscellaneous parts (paperclips, washers, coffee stirrer, rubberbands, etc) that needed to be sorted. This helped to teach the youth about categorizing items by form or function. They had to sort by color and then each group chose a second way to sort items. Some of the teams sorted by individual item, others sorted by material make up, and another sorted by the shape of the item.

Then the group learned about orthographic drawings. Do you know what that is? I haven't a clue. But Michael tells me that it is a perspective drawing of an object from all angles. Each 4Her had to then choose an item from the room and draw an orthographic image. Then they exchanged drawings with another 4Her and explain their drawing to another person in the room. They talked about why this type of drawing was a good way to communicate. On reason is because it crosses international barrier of language. Also, it provides a good physical or visual reference for an unknown object. This part of the class also showed the importance of measurements.

Then the teams had to build a book support using a minimum of four paperclips and piece of printer paper that would hold a book at least five inches off the table. One team used only the minimum supplies to create their support, and it held four Bibles! The other teams made very elaborate structures that could barely hold one book! It was great to see so many different attempts. The 4Hers are very creative. They made a very good first attempt at creating a structure out of junk!

They all are looking forward to building marshmallow catapults next week! I am hoping Zaira and I can attend so we can eat all the extra marshmallows! Plenty of room for more to join us! This is an awesome new project! 

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