Posts Tagged ‘desert’

Math — Fun with Fractals & Platonic Solids

January 6th, 2003

Recommended Website:
Fun With Fractals & The Platonic Solids

This website is a curious blend of math, nature, and art photography. When you get to the site you will see an extended menu. Read the introduction for the artist/mathematician’s purpose. Then, you can explore platonic solids – especially the tetrahedron.

This is where the site really gets fascinating. The artist has photographs of a child building a tetrahedra (instructions are included so your kids can build their own). Then, the artist has a photo gallery of children of all ages placing their tetrahedras in nature settings – in the snow, in the desert, and with birds, flowers, trees, water and more. The contrast yields some remarkable photographs. Each picture is accompanied by an explanation of why a particular location was chosen.

But the artist doesn’t stop there. She hand-drew the photographs to create coloring pages that you can print out and color at home. So as you look at a photograph of a tetrahedra in nature on the website, right next to it you will see a coloring page. Click on it, print it out, and color it in!

This is a highly unusual and effective way to blend nature, math, and art. Just the sort of thing homeschoolers will appreciate! :-)

Cool “Fossil” Dig — Buried Bones!

June 30th, 2002

Recommended Website:
Paleontology: The Big Dig – Buried Bones

This site, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, offers an
interesting and fun activity for kids to do at home to help them understand
fossilized bones and paleontology digs. Kids create their own “dig sites”
and then try to excavate the “fossils.” Explicit instructions, photographs,
and a materials list simplify the organization aspects of the activity. You
will undoubtedly need to plan a day or two in advance, so that you have all
of the simple materials you will need.

This is a great way to introduce kids to paleontology, and after their dig,
they may want to check out the rest of this section of the kid-friendly site with detailed information and photos that describe some real digs in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia – with an emphasis on dinosaur fossils.

Virtual Tour of Great Wall of China

February 15th, 2002

Chinese New Year is in full swing! It began on February 12th, the first day in the Chinese Calendar year of 4699 — the Year of the Horse. I thought a virtual field trip to The Great Wall of China was an appropriate way to celebrate!

Recommended Website:
The Great Wall — A Virtual Tour

The Great Wall of China was built over 2,000 years ago and stretches about 4,500 miles from the mountains of Korea to the Gobi Desert. The wall was erected to protect various Chinese regions from invasion by barbarians. It is a remarkable spectacle of human engineering. At this website you will see breath-taking photographs of each of the major sections of The Great Wall. The photos are accompanied by text that explains the history of who built the wall, how it was built, and how it was used. When you get to the site the tour begins immediately. Just click the “next stop” buttons on each page to advance to the next part of the virtual tour. There are about 12 pages to view, so plan to spend at least 10-15 minutes to take the whole tour.

Online Tour of The Living Desert

January 18th, 2002

The desert is an interesting place to visit in the winter with temperatures in the 70’s during the day! On a recent trip to Palm Desert, California, I stumbled upon a wonderful zoological park called The Living Desert. I was happy to learn about their online tour and thought you might enjoy it. Set the proper stage — turn on the bright lights, adjust your furnace setting to 76 degrees, put on your tank tops, shorts, and sunglasses, and whip up a batch of Date Shakes (see recipe below). Then, relax and enjoy the online tour of The Living Desert…

Recommended Website:
The Living Desert

When you get to the website you will see a menu listing the many animals that live at The Living Desert zoological park. All of these animals are native to desert regions throughout the world. To begin the online tour simply click on the name of the animal that you would like to see first. A new screen will appear with photographs of the animal and extensive information (presented through text) on its characteristics, behavior, and habitat. After you read about the animal click on the link at the bottom of the screen that says “Animal Links” to go back to the menu to choose another animal to learn about. Some of the animals you will meet on your online tour of The Living Desert include:

  • African Crested Porcupine
  • Bat-Eared Fox
  • Caracal
  • Desert Hedgehog
  • Golden Eagle
  • Hyena
  • Meercat
  • Sandcat
  • Warthog
  • and many, many more!

Don’t forget the Date Shakes! Dates are a staple food in the desert, loaded with vitamins, minerals, and no fat — and they are especially yummy in a cool shake. Here’s the recipe….

3/4 cup pitted dates, chopped 1 1/4 cup milk 1 pint vanilla ice cream or vanilla frozen yogurt

Combine dates with 1/2 cup milk in blender and turn to high speed. Add the rest of the milk and ice cream or yogurt; blend on low speed until just combined. Serve immediately in tall, chilled glasses.

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