Olinguito

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

THE NOSE KNOWS




It's the perfect time to launch the new year with activities focusing on the one and only NOSE.

That's because it's finally here! WHAT IF YOU HAD AN ANIMAL NOSE?! has been published. So don't wait another minute. Take a deep breath and get started.

More Than A Sniffer





Dig into the book to find out some of the cool things these animals can do with their nose besides sniff. 
Elephant
Wart Hog
Star Nosed Mole
Giant Anteater



What your favorite animal nose in the book? What would you like about having that kind of animal nose?

Is there an animal's nose that's not in the book but you think should be?


Love That Smell!




Smells are an important part of our memories. 
Invite children to share some of their favorite smell memories, such as eating popcorn with friends, your family getting a brand new car, your pet being wet from the rain or eating a favorite fruit.

Perhaps there is also a scent that reminds them of their home or a place they love to go, such as the park or the movies.

Make a list together of words that can be used to describe smells. You'll think of more but here are a few to get you started:
sweet
spicy
stinky
sweaty
piney
flowery
sour
lemony
rotten


Smells Like Me

Many animals use their sense of smell to know who belongs to their pack, flock, pride or other kind of group. This fun activity will let children use their noses to find their group. 

You'll need one self-sealing plastic bag for each child. Put a cotton ball into each. Next, drip a couple of drops of one of the following liquid flavorings on each cotton ball: 

  • peppermint
  • lemon
  • vanilla

Be sure there are at least two bags that have the same scent. If lots of children are sharing this activity, use additional flavorings. 

To play, have the children move around without talking. And tap each other gently on the shoulder to ask permission to sniff the flavoring in each bag.  Once two children find they share a scent have them team up to search out other members of their scent group. 

Finish by having the children guess their group scent. 


Trick Your Nose



Our tongues can easily taste sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Other flavors are partly what we taste and partly what we smell. It's the reason foods don't taste the same when we have a cold.

Check out how much smell effects taste by giving  children an apple or apple slices to eat. Have them describe the taste after one bite. Next, drip drops of liquid cooking vanilla on one cotton ball for each child. Have them hold this close enough to their nose to pick up the scent and take a second bite of their apple slice.

The flavor will seem different. Ask children to describe how changing what they can smell has changed the apple's taste.

Have a great time investigating the sense of smell while you enjoy my new book. 

TEACHERS--Would love to hear from you about how you're finding ways to tie this book into classroom activities.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

THEY'RE BACK!!! THE TWELVE ARACHNIDS OF CHRISTMAS!



For all of you that have been asking for it--the waiting is over. They're back!! THE TWELVE ARACHNIDS OF CHRISTMAS! It's just a little discovery fun inspired by my 12 book series: Arachnid World published by Lerner Publishing. ENJOY!






On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a black widow in a fir tree.






As I watched, that black widow spider dangled upside down from a silk thread. Next, its exoskeleton (armor-like covering) split open along the back. Then the spider pushed and pulled and crawled out of its exoskeleton.

Oh my, that spider has a new bigger body for Christmas.

By the way, are you wondering: "What's an ARACHNID?"
It's an animal that always has an exoskeleton and usually has two main body parts: a cephalothoras (like a head/chest) and an abdomen. It also usually has 8 legs.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two striped bark scorpions.




As I watched, the smaller one--the male--grabbed the female's pedipalps (body parts near the mouth). They did a kind of dance, moving forward and backward. Then they went and around and around in circle. They did this over and over for hours.

Did you guess it's a mating dance? There will be new baby scorpions in the new year. 





On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three wolf spiders.





As I watched, a round ball stuck to one spider's spinnerets (the part that gives out silk) split open. Hundreds of tiny spiders crawled out and onto the big spider.

She's a new mother for Christmas.






On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four wind scorpions.




Almost at once, one of the wind scorpions ran straight up a nearly vertical rock. How did it keep from falling off? This arachnid has sticky tips on its pedipalps, those long parts you can see at the front of this arachnid.

Wind scorpions have special body parts to stay safe on Christmas and all year long.





On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five tarantulas.



One goliath bird-eater tarantula was holding a gecko. As I watched it sank in its fangs and brought up digestive juices.

Why in the world did it do that? This tarantula was preparing its meal by breaking it down first. Even big spiders, like tarantulas have very small mouths. Next, the spider will suck the juice in. It's having its Christmas dinner. Of course, it eats every meal this way.





On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love to me six female cross spiders spinning.


Whatever were they doing?  As I watched, a fly landed on one spider's web. That female ran to the fly and shots strands of silk over it.

Why did she do that? She was wrapping up presents--well, sort of. She was storing food for later.









I kept on watching and saw a fly zip into another spider's web. I expected the web to break. Spider silk isn't stronger than steal but it's super strong. That spider wrapped up its meal too.



On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven fishing spiders.





At just that moment, a bat flew past and all the fishing spiders dived underwater. They stayed down for nearly thirty minutes.

How were they able to stay underwater for so long? When a fishing spider dives a layer of air coats its body. The spider is able to draw oxygen from the air-filled coat into its book lungs. Those are thin, flat folds of tissue with slits that open through its armor-like exoskeleton.




On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight crab spiders lurking 
inside flowers.


Some goldenrod crab spiders were inside yellow flowers and they were yellow. Other goldenrod crab spiders were inside white flowers and they were white.

How were these spiders able to be either yellow or white? When the spider's eyes detect it's on yellow, its body makes that coloring matter and it flows into the outer cell layer of its body. 



It takes about a week to become completely yellow. That's because to turn white, it doesn't make coloring matter. The yellow just flows down to lower layers and passes out with its wastes.




On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine bobbing  harvestmen.



Why were these spiders bobbing? They do this in a group when a predator, like a bird, is nearby. That way they look like a bigger animal--hopefully. By the way, harvestmen don't eat like spiders. Their mouths are big enough to bite off chunks and swallow.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten ticks-a-sucking blood 
from their host.






As I watched these female dog ticks over several days, their bodies swelled up until they were nearly six hundred times bigger.

How in the world can they swell so big? It's because the hard part covering their body is made up of layers. They spread, fanning apart, as the tick sucks in blood.








On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven jumping spiders jumping.



As I watched, one leapt from one leaf to another to catch an insect.

How could it possibly jump so far? To leap muscles inside the spider's body contract, instantly forcing blood into its four hind legs. This makes them suddenly stretch. And that launches the spider forward.  As it jumps, the spider continually produces silk. It attached that to the surface just before it leapt. So if the spider falls, it dangles instead of crashing.

What's the record for how far a jumping spider can leap? Some have been recorded leaping 40 times their own body length. 

How far can you jump? Can you jump farther than your body length (your height)?



On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a plant with twelve mites-a-multiplying.



On the first day of Christmas I didn't even notice the twelve, tiny two-spotted mites on one of my plant's leaves. After all, each was only 0.02 inch long. However, on the twelfth day of Christmas, the plant was nearly covered with web strands dotted with tiny mites. 

How did there get to be so many mites so quickly? It's because each female laid about 10 eggs a day. Soon the young hatched, became adults, and the new females started laying eggs. There were soon lots of mites. Worse, each and everyone was feeding by sucking the plant's juices. I couldn't get rid of them. I finally just threw away my plant. 

So my arachnid Christmas this year is one I'll always remember. After all, it's the year I received:

12 mites-a-multiplying
11 jumping spiders jumping
10 ticks sucking
harvestmen bobbing
crab spiders lurking
fishing spiders fishing
orb weavers spinning
5  TARANTULAS
4 wind scorpions
3 wolf spiders
2 scorpions
And a black widow in a fir tree

And as he drove out of sight, Spider Claus spun a silk web with a message, "Merry Christmas to all and have Even MORE fun exploriing Arachnids in the 

New Year!"


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

HAVE A BLIZZARD OF FUN!





I grew up in northern Ohio and I've been to Antarctica so I KNOW  SNOW!

If you live where winter is snowy, here are some ways to explore and have fun.


Collect Snowflakes


While no two snowflakes are ever exactly alike (as far as anyone knows), they are all hexagone--six-sided crystals. Snowflakes take several main shapes.

If you want to catch some snowflakes, chill a clean glass slide or a small mirror in the refrigerator. Take the cold glass outside and allow a few flakes to collect on it. You may need a magnifying glass to see the snowflakes if they are very small.

To preserve snowflakes so you can even take them inside with you you'll need a can of plastic spray--the kind artists use on chalk drawings.



Chill the spray along with the clean glass slide. Carry the glass slide outside on a piece of cardboard. This keeps your body heat from warming the glass. Spray the glass lightly with the plastic coating. Let snowflakes collect on the glass. Take the preserved snowflakes inside and let the plastic coating completely dry (about fifteen minutes).


Check out this book about Wilson Bentley.
His photos of snowflakes became world famous.

Now you can examine the snowflakes with a magnifying glass or a microscope if you have one. No need to rush. These snowflakes will stay crystal-clear forever.


What is it?!

Look at the bottom of the blog to find out....

Treat The Birds




You can get a good look at birds that spend the winter in your neighborhood, if you invite them to dinner. An easy treat to make is a peanut butter pinecone. Loop a string around the top of a pine cone and tie a knot. Next, smear peanut butter on the cone and roll the cone in birdseed. Then have an adult partner hang the pinecone where birds will be able to perch and eat. 

Now, keep watch. Use bird books and search on-line to help you identify the birds visiting your bird diner. Also, answer these questions:
1. What time of day do the birds come to eat? 
2. Do the birds come more on stormy or sunny days?
3. Do the birds take turns and feed one at a time? Or do they compete to eat?
4. Which birds usually chase other birds away?

Create a colorful bar graph to share the data you collect about your dinner guests.

Remember, to replace your pinecone with a fresh treat from time-to-time to keep the dinners coming back for more.

And when you're ready to warm up inside, curl up with one of my newest books.

















Do you know what this is?




It's a photo taken in the Arctic of a cup of hot tea tossed into the air. The liquid was boiling hot but instantly froze into tiny crystals.

HAVE A BLIZZARD OF FUN!





I grew up in northern Ohio and I've been to Antarctica so I KNOW snow!

If you live where winter is snowy, here are some ways to explore and have fun.


Collect Snowflakes


While no two snowflakes are ever exactly alike (as far as anyone knows), they are all hexagone--six-sided crystals. Snowflakes take several main shapes.

If you want to catch some snowflakes, chill a clean glass slide or a small mirror in the refrigerator. Take the cold glass outside and allow a few flakes to collect on it. You may need a magnifying glass to see the snowflakes if they are very small.

To preserve snowflakes so you can even take them inside with you you'll need a can of plastic spray--the kind artists use on chalk drawings.



Chill the spray along with the clean glass slide. Carry the glass slide outside on a piece of cardboard. This keeps your body heat from warming the glass. Spray the glass lightly with the plastic coating. Let snowflakes collect on the glass. Take the preserved snowflakes inside and let the plastic coating completely dry (about fifteen minutes).


Check out this book about Wilson Bentley.
His photos of snowflakes became world famous.

Now you can examine the snowflakes with a magnifying glass or a microscope if you have one. No need to rush. These snowflakes will stay crystal-clear forever.


What is it?!

Look at the bottom of the blog to find out....

Treat The Birds




You can get a good look at birds that spend the winter in your neighborhood, if you invite them to dinner. An easy treat to make is a peanut butter pinecone. Loop a string around the top of a pine cone and tie a knot. Next, smear peanut butter on the cone and roll the cone in birdseed. Then have an adult partner hang the pinecone where birds will be able to perch and eat. 

Now, keep watch. Use bird books and search on-line to help you identify the birds visiting your bird diner. Also, answer these questions:
1. What time of day do the birds come to eat? 
2. Do the birds come more on stormy or sunny days?
3. Do the birds take turns and feed one at a time? Or do they compete to eat?
4. Which birds usually chase other birds away?

Create a colorful bar graph to share the data you collect about your dinner guests.

Remember, to replace your pinecone with a fresh treat from time-to-time to keep the dinners coming back for more.

And when you're ready to warm up inside, curl up with one of my newest books.

















Do you know what this is?




It's a photo taken in the Arctic of a cup of hot tea tossed into the air. The liquid was boiling hot but instantly froze into tiny crystals.

Friday, October 28, 2016

JOIN THE READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA


LOVE all those happy readers. Welcome to the READ-IN Scott Fillner's fourth graders
at Bowmen Elementary in Cedar Rapids, Iowa


SOMETHING EXCITING is happening!  

My publisher Tumblehome Learning is hosting GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA in honor of the publication of my very first Middle Grade novel GASPARILLA’S GOLD. Here are the details of this SPECIAL event!

From November 1, 2016 (the official publication date) through January 31, 2017, every class that signs up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA will receive the following:


·      Classroom set of my novel GASPARILLA’S GOLD—25 paperback copies for students and a hardbound teachers copy. (See story overview below.)
·      Classroom set of bookmarks.
·      Discovery Pack of activities designed to enrich this whole class reading experience.


All for $125.00 (less than half-price and it includes FREE shipping). 

Here's the link to get started. SIGN UP NOW









TEN classes that sign up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA will also receive a FREE Skype visit with me (a $250 value). More about this will soon be posted on the Tumblehome Learning website

And there’s more!

Every class that signs up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA also receives access to additional learning experiences and fun activities on Tumblehome Learning’s website and my blog. There will also be an opportunity for classes to share student book reviews and Tumblehome Learning will publish a selection of these on their website (with class and school credits).

PLUS— Every class that signs up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA will become part of the Class Database. So your class will immediately gain reading buddies to connect with in other schools and states to multiply the fun of puzzling out the mysteries as Gus, Fiona and Coop hunt for pirate treasure. Then your class can share cheering for Gus and Fiona as they join forces to save a rare (and totally cute) Florida panther cub from poachers.




I can’t wait to share 
GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA 
with you!





GASPARILLA’S GOLD (story overview) Gus goes to spend the summer with his aunt in Florida and help out at her wildlife shelter. Then he discovers a carved whale’s tooth and is caught up in solving clues that could reveal the long hidden site of the pirate Gasparilla’s buried gold. But Gus also gets caught up in an even wilder race to save a rare Florida panther cub from poachers. A search for pirate treasure becomes much more . . .

GASPARILLA’S GOLD 
READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA 
is going to be a blast! 




Saturday, October 8, 2016

HAPPY DINOSAUR MONTH!

Wow! Who knew we could have an excuse to have fun exploring dinosaurs. But October is it! I LOVE that October is INTERNATIONAL DINOSAUR MONTH!


Dig In
Here are some sites where you can find lots of fun things to do and ways for children to investigate.

Science Made Fun
This site is packed with info about dinosaur record holders. For example do you know which dinosaur is the smallest when fully-grown? Or which kind was the first ever to be discovered in North America? You will once you visit this site.


Can you make up a story about what's going on in this picture?

Child Care Lounge: Dinosaur Activities
Songs and crafts add fun and games to learning about dinosaurs.

Enchanted Learning: Dinosaur Quizes

Ten questions, word unscrambles, crosswords and name hunts. There's lots of dino-fun here. 

And don't miss the jokes! You'll find the answers to these and more.

Why did the Archaeopteryx catch the worm?

What do you get when dinosaurs crash their cars?

Breaking News: Dinosaur Egg Discovered


Check out this latest discovery of dinosaur eggs. Also, take a look inside my book to see how the latest technology let scientists study baby dinosaurs. And learn what they were like and how they developed.
See a real baby dinosaur on page 35


 Encourage children to imagine dinosaur eggs were discovered at their school or at home in their backyard. Have them become reporters to bring this breaking news to the world.

South Pole Dinosaurs
Dr. Christian Sidor with fossil

Hard as it is to believe, during the Age of Dinosaurs the world's climate was very different. In fact, it was a time of Greenhouse kind of warming. So there were forests in Antarctica where the land is now covered with thick ice sheets. Scientist Dr. Vanessa Bowman reported that the rainforests of New Zealand with their fern trees show what the Antarctic forests were once like. In fact, Robert Falcon Scott found fossilized plants there in 1912. Since, explorers have discovered fossilized, bush-sized beech trees and remains of ginkgos, another ancient kind of tree. And dinosaur bones have also been discovered.
Leaellynasaura
What's fascinating about these dinosaur remains isn't that they lived in Antarctica. It's that they had to deal with the polar night. Though the climate was clearly warmer in that ancient time, there still would have been the long period of dark. Professor Thomas Rich has found several of the now eight known species (kinds) of Antarctic dinosaurs. And the only complete skeleton found was for LeaellynasauraThis provided a big clue as to how the dinosaurs managed. Its skull had extra big eye sockets so it probably had big eyes--what it would have needed to see in the long night. 

[Don't miss the sweet story of how this dinosaur got its name.]

So what kinds of dinosaurs once lived near the South Pole? Here's the names of three. Click on the name of each to link to a site where you can begin learning more about that dinosaur. If you're interested go online to discover more about one or more of these dinosaurs. And create a 12-page mini-picture book about the dinosaur.

 Antarctopelta, meaning “Antarctic shield.” Discovered in 1986. Believed to be an ankylosaurus type of armored plant eater.

Cryolophosaurus

Cryolophosaurus, means “coldcrested lizard.” Approximately 20–26 feet (6–8 m) long, this massive creature must have required a hefty diet, including other dinosaurs.

Glacialisaurus, meaning “frozen lizard.” The entire dinosaur must have been 20–25 feet (6–8 m) long and weighed an estimated 4–6 tons.

Now, imagine that you have travelled to Antarctica. And you're part of a team that has found the fossil remains of a brand new kind of dinosaur. Read this story about someone who lived that exciting adventure. Then make up a story about being along on this expedition.

Have Dino Dreams

Dinosaurs are also perfect for launching all sorts of creative thinking. Let children look at this picture and:
1. Imagine living in that city.
2. Draw another kind of dinosaur that's hosting a city.
3. Dream up a class pet dinosaur. 

And enjoy some of these fun reads:
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

Dinosaur Dig