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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Of Wings and Flying Things

Time is flying by. We are staring right at May this week and Leo only has 6 more weeks of preschool. How is that even possible? At the end of May Leo will be 5 and in the fall we will wave to him as he marches into Kindergarten. I am feeling very nostalgic and a little panicked. We are all looking forward to summertime fun, but in the meantime I am savoring and treasuring my days with Leo.
Wednesday is our “together” day. I try not to schedule too many activities. We alternate between story time at the library, play dates with friends, errands, and at home hang outs. I have been leaning more towards the at home hang out days where we cuddle on the couch for PBS TV watching, cook in the kitchen, fold laundry, create art, dig in the garden, or have an adventure.
This Wednesday I really wanted to roll up our sleeves and jump into a great Sid the Science Kid investigation – just like the old days when preschool began. With that in mind, I consulted the activities tab on the Sid site and found Wing It!
Leo and Henry have both recently become interested in planes and paper airplanes. This activity, along with the accompanying episode, is perfect for them. Leo and I watched the video clip for the episode and set off on our own adventure. We learned that the first designs for the airplane came from observing birds and learning about how birds fly.
Our first step was to head outside and search for airplanes and birds. We could hear planes overhead (we are on the long descent flight path for LAX) but the cloudy skies made it difficult to see the planes. After much searching Leo spotted a small plane flying very high in the sky.
We watched little birds swoop from tree to tree up our street. Their small wings allowed the birds to glide and dive. We wanted to stay outside longer, but the misty weather wasn’t cooperating so we went inside to conduct our research. On our way in we stopped to examine a birds’ nest our neighbor had found while trimming a tree in our front yard. It is lovely and delicate. Leo loves to hold it gently in his hands and imagine the bird family that called the nest home. It is so cute.
Once inside we pulled out a sketchpad and the “good” colored pencils to start recording our ideas. I wrote “Birds” at the top while Leo drew a picture of a bird. We talked about the parts of a bird and how those parts help birds fly. We made labels too. When I asked him what a feather was he said: “Little extra wings.”
Next we pulled out the iPad and got a little side tracked. I looked up tutorials for drawing a bird. So, the next thing I knew, there we were, drawing a real bird step by step. I was as engaged as Leo and I am quite proud of my little drawing. I am usually so art challenged!
It was a great exercise to draw the bird. It really helped us see the different part and lead us into the next step of our investigation. Planes.
Leo could have spent the next two hours on the iPad looking at images of airplanes. We clicked on thousands and thousands of images. (Okay, maybe only 50 or so.) We discussed the similarities and differences between birds and airplanes. I was interested to hear what Leo had to say because his teacher commented recently that Leo had trouble with comparisons. I was proud to discover that he could generate the similarities (wings, nose/beak, tail) and differences (birds are animals, planes have motors) quite readily. We wrote down our observations and continued to browse through pictures of airplanes.
I see a trip to the local airfield in our future. This investigation flowed so well for us and concluded in such an organic way. It felt like a seamless part of our time together as opposed to an “organized” activity. I am really looking forward to next Wednesday. And time just keeps flying by!

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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