Monday, September 26, 2011


Even WITH the strata of our earth's atmosphere, the sun's penetrating heat is so powerful, that it warms the earth, and can burn our unprotected skin after a few hours

"We are enveloped by an atmosphere that consists of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent other ingredients. The atmosphere affects Earth's long-term climate and short-term local weather, shields us from much of the harmful radiation coming from the sun and protects us from meteors as well: most of which burn up before they can strike the surface as meteorites. Earth-orbiting satellites have revealed that the upper atmosphere actually swells by day and contracts by night due to solar heating during the day and cooling at night."(

These activities will  help your child recognize two purposes of our atmosphere-to insulate, and to protect.
Gather five mason jars or mugs and fill them each with a cup of water.  Place various covers on each mason jar lip and secure with a rubber band.  You could use wax paper, a wash cloth, celophane wrap, and a brown paper bag piece.  Leave one jar uncovered.  Place the jars in the sun for a few hours.  Have your child use a thermometer, or just use their finger, to determine which jar holds the hottest water.  Which cover allowed the most sunlight through and which jar cover allowed the least sunlight through?  All of the covers insulated the area inside of the jar.  By definition, Insulation prevents or reduces the passage of heat, electricity or sound.  Did any of the jar covers reduce the passage of the sun's heat the best?
This activity shows a visual effect of the sun's power: 
-Cut the top and bottoms from 5 rinsed tuna cans.  (You could also cut 5 strips of construction paper and tape into a circle to use as your base.) 

-Place covers on four of the cans and secure with a rubber band.  You could use wax paper, a wash cloth, celophane wrap, tin foil, or the bottom of a balloon stretched over the rim. Lay the cans on top of a piece of construction paper in a sunny area for the day. 
-Label the paper beside each can naming the type of cover on the can.  After a day, have your child remove the cans from the construction paper.  Notice the faded circles on the construction paper.  Observe which cover allowed more of the sun's rays through and which covers allowed the fewest rays through. Explain that our atmosphere protects the earth, the plants and our bodies from too strong of sunrays.  The more faded circles had an "atmosphere layer" that allowed more penetration than the less faded circles.(

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
"Fully Charged"
How to approach and pet a Dog

Can you believe that the Circus is almost in Utah...September 22-25th!  Not sure if I would ever be bold enough to kiss a tiger, but you can have a chance to get an up-close look at the animals of the Ringling Brothers Circus during the hour pre-show, 90 minutes before the performance (free to all ticket holders).   "Dance with the dancers, high-five the high wire act, take pictures with acrobats and aerialists, laugh with the clowns, and enter to win an original pachyderm Picasso created by Asia, the painting Asian Pachyderm."

You will also have a chance to meet the circus animals' care-experts and learn about the lives of these amazing animals.  It's an opportunity to ask questions about your favorite circus animals!   Great care is taken to provide a healthy environment, medical care and respectful training of these animals. 

You may not see exotic animals outside a trip to the zoo or a circus visit, but our children have opportunities to interact with animals almost daily.  It's important to remind them of how to properly care for (or avoid dangerous) animals in our  neighborhoods.

My cousin, who is visiting this week, is in her third year of Vet school.  My girls have loved spending time with her and her dogs, Homer and Zoe.  The first thing that Cousin Ann taught my girls was how to correctly approach a dog.  This is a good reminder for all of our little ones before sticking their hand out to an unknown animal:

-Never approach a stray dog or a sleeping dog. 
-Never sneak up behind a dog
-Don't try to take a toy or food away from a dog.
-Ask the owner if it's okay to pet his dog and if it's friendly.
-Approach the dog from the side and not head-on, but be visible.
-Put your hand out and let the dog approach you. 
-Pet the dog on the shoulders or back, or wherever the owner says you should pet their animal.
-Give the dog a treat if the owner has one for you and says it is okay.

Share these tips with your child and be safe playing in the neighborhood!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

(See more photos under "belly" at
He's finally arrived...and we are in love...again!
Thank you for your patience as I regroup after our son's birth. His three older sisters are showering him with LOTS of love:)
I'll start my weekly Monday post again...soon!

Monday, September 5, 2011

SMMART MATH: Banana Fractions
How Does an Elephant Eat an Unpeeled Banana?

The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will be in Salt Lake City from Sept. 22-25th. The iconic circus animal must be the Asian elephants... especially when there's a little baby elephant.  Some types of elephants can eat up to 660 lbs of vegetable matter a day!  So do they bother to peel the bananas?  No way!  Their stomach's strong digestive enzymes take care of the peel too.

This is a fun trick to help teach your children fractions...sneaky fractions.

When your child opens this peeled banana, they'll find it evenly cut into FRACTIONS!

Poke a long, skinny, cleansed pin into the banana and move it from side to side to cut the banana inside the peel.  Cut the banana inside the peel into even segments.

When your child opens the banana (SURPRISE!), have him child count the number of pieces of the banana.  Put one piece aside and have your child repeat "one sixth" (if there are 6 pieces).  Then put two pieces aside and repeat "two sixth".  When you put three pieces aside, say "three sixths and this is half of the banana!"  Ask your child to eat a sixth of the banana and to share two sixths with you. 


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