Friday, August 28, 2015

Mikro's Going to Mars... Well, His Name Is, Anyway!

Get your name sent to the red planet too by signing up with NASA here.

2015 Not Back To School Interview With Mikro

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Paleontology, Robotics... Science!

Q: What are you best at?
A: Science.

Q: I need to get better at __________.
A: Handwriting, note taking, typing, writing essays.

Q: What's the best thing about being a homeschooler?
A: That I get to learn what *I* want to learn.

Q: What's the worst thing?
A: No such thing as summer break.

Q: What kind of work do you want to do when you grow up?
A: I want to be a paleontologist, or evolutionary biologist. I also want to do robotics and cartography. I want to be a professor, because I like to lecture, and I would love to work at AMNH someday.

Q: This year I want to learn about ________.
A: Paleontology (of course), cartography, drawing, ships (maritime engineering/architecture), robotics, natural satellites, terraforming, space exploration, science fiction, fractals, geometry, special effects and animation, East Prussia, colonialism.

Q: I want to do more _________.
A: Field trips.

Q: I want to do less _________.
A: Handwriting.

Q:Who is your best friend?
A: Ezra and Koby.

Q:I want to go on a field trip to __________.
A: Philadelphia.

Q: I want to go on vacation to __________.
A. Ireland.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Foraging With Kids: A Review by Mikro

Mikro reviewed Wildman Steve Brill's book, Foraging with Kids for our homeschool group's newsletter:


I really enjoyed “Foraging With Kids” by Wildman Steve Brill. The book was more than just a field guide to edible plants. I especially liked the sections about the folklore, myth and superstitions about plants. I also enjoyed the plant poems. My favorite story was about how people can try to tell time with dandelions, which are nicknamed “the clock flower.” You will have to read the book to find out how a fairy story turned into this strange activity.

The book is organized by seasons so that way you know when to look for certain things. The photos were really clear and make it easy to identify the plants Wildman Steve talks about. We decided to field test the book by going foraging once it got warm enough.

We went foraging in a meadow near the Hudson River and in our own backyard. We took along Wildman Steve’s book and a bunch of baggies to collect plants with. We were able to identify the plants we found easily, except for one that we thought was purslane. We were not one hundred percent sure, so, as Wildman Steve tells us, we did not eat it.

meadow foragingmikro3

meadow2 foragingmikro2

We found wild onion, dandelions, violets, mint and wood sorrel. My mom likes wood sorrel and dandelions. I liked the mint and violets.


violets wildonions

When we got home, we looked at the male and female parts of the flowers under a field microscope. Wildman Steve’s book has lots of suggestions for science lessons, which my mom and I both liked.

dandeliionanthers tipofvioletstamen

violetovaryinside violeteater dandelioneater

Foraging is a fun way to spend time outdoors. We had a really nice day outside and saw lots of birds as well as plants. I want to go foraging again later this spring and in the summer when there is more out there to find.

perchedkestrel redwing1

redwing2 kestrelinflight

I would recommend this book highly for all kids and families.

What an amazing day. It was still very early spring here on the day we foraged, and I was happy that we were able to find a few edible plants. (I promised to give the newsletter first go at publishing this, which is why it's only being posted now...) The walk also brought us some amazing non-botanical sights: an American Kestrel up close, and all sorts of song birds, but the highlight (besides the Kestrel) was a red winged blackbird displaying for a mate. To top it off, there was a spectacular sunset! Our fun day inspired a poem:

A Foraging Poem,
by Chele Coyne

We went to the park,
But not on a lark,
For we had a mission in mind.
With Steve Brill’s tome,
And a meadow to roam,
It’s amazing the food you can find.
Though winter’s barely over,
We found wood sorrel and clover,
Wild onions, mint, violets blue.
As we tramped along,
We heard the birds’ song.
Foraging’s a fun thing to do!


Have you ever gone foraging? What's your favorite wild edible?

Check out a field trip we took with Wildman Steve here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Incredible Oceans at AMNH

We went to the American Museum of Natural History for a special program on "Incredible Oceans", part of the Milstein Science Series. We heard marine biologists Tierny Thys and Christine Huffard talk about their research, met them at their display on deep ocean life (where Mikro asked questions and got to see how octopuses see their world), checked out the exploration stations with microscopic pond life, cool ocean specimens on display, skeletons, fish made transparent via an enzymatic process, etc. Mikro also got to sculpt a tardigrade.

He got to talk to Mark Siddall (parasitologist, genomic researcher and curator of the amazing new "Life at the Limits" exhibit) about pursuing his interest in evolutionary biology.

We heard music inspired by animal oddballs from Michael Hearst and his band. And there was a live animal encounter with zoologist Jarod Miller's cool creatures.

What a great event!

April Field Trips: Theater

April Field Trips: Eldridge Street Synagogue