Saturday, June 19, 2010

Entomology 101

Today we joined together with a group of Homeschooler's for a Mini Beast guided bug hunt at the Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens. Scores of kids with spades in hand pounced on the poor unsuspecting bugs of Mt Cootha. Well I'm not sure how unsuspecting they were. Different school groups twice a day 5 days a week, I think they knew we were coming and ran for their little lives!

Not only were the bugs out of their depth but right of the bat the Guide made the first of three mistakes! She asked the group what grade they were in? They all sat their staring at each other wondering out loud what she was talking about? The parents then suggested she ask how old they were. This brought out an instant response from all. After establishing this, she made mistake number two. Having warmed them up verbally with the first question, she then asked them what they knew about insects. Now anyone with any experience with a homeschooled child knows that once you start them on a topic they just don't stop! Unlike 'school' children who will give the appropriate automated answer in short, concise, monosylabic sentences, homeschooled children WILL give you the unabridged version with actions if needed.
Well that's what this poor Guide got. Clearly dazed with information over load she pressed on with mistake number three. She asked them to line up!! Line Up!!! What was she thinking? Never mind, she soon learnt this wasn't going to be a regular field guide, so she moved on.

Into the dirt, bugs leaping for their lives, worms trying to slither away, only the crickets stood a chance because the minute they where deposited in to the tray ready for identification they just jumped away.

We then moved from the ground insects to the air. We journeyed into the Arid country. The cactus section which, well didn't grab me that much, but each to their own.(sorry no pun intended with the grab bit) I didn't actually spot any insect myself but (grown-up) Lucy & I discovered that Alo vera came from Yemen. Lucy wonder where Yemen was, so I whipped out my google brain to give Lucy the exact location of Yemen and the fact that it was it's own country. Not know for brilliance, she stared at me with the 'where did that come from look' which wasn't enough and she actually asked the question? I informed her that I had a school friend who was in the Navy and who's ship was stationed off the coast of Yemen. That restored the world back on it's axis and made perfect sense to her why I would know where Yemen was and not that I had a brilliance for Geography. No, wait that was 'A Well Trained Mind' Memory peg!!

We then learned about Australian native bee's and Jessica was chosen as Queen bee. Like her self-esteem needed that. She had to 'fly' around while wiggling her bottom. We spend everyday trying to teach our almost 10 year old with a little bit of attitude not to do. Hence the fact we have a total ban on the likes of Hanna Montana. But off she went, buzzing away with glee.

Too top of the afternoon, they went on to explore water insects. Poking this one poor massive gold fish in the pond. Poor thing but it managed to survive us all as did the Guide and a great afternoon was had by all.
Monday we are off for part two which is a visit to the CSIRO Lab for some more Entomology 101. Can't wait to see what fun that will bring. Stay tuned.

Grown-up Lucy with Michael


Lucy said...

Your observational humour at its best, Donna! That is exactly how the day went! And yes you are right about my surprise at your detailed knowledge of the location of Yemen.. which reminds me I must look that one up!

Lauren said...

You know, I haven't been up to explore Mt Coo-tha yet. (I've only had one visit at night-time.) So you've inspired me to try to take our family there for an explore!