Dallas Arboretum Homeschool Day

I was so excited when I learned that the Dallas Arboretum was having a special Homeschool Day.  Not just because we love an excuse to go to the Arboretum but also because the kids have been learning all about botany so this would be a great way to wrap up their science for the year.  It was a fun review for them.

They gave each child a journal, pencil, and small magnifying glass to use and take home.  There were stations set up in two separate room and it was a "come and go" setting.  We started at the Leaves station to learn about adaptations that help leaves survive and thrive in different areas.

Nicholas was using a cool little Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Zoom LED Lighted Pocket Microscope to study veins and spores on the leaves.

Rachel used "fake snow" to pile on top of different leaves to see if they would collapse and break under the weight or if they could shed off the snow and not be negatively affected.

At the Stem station they learned about stems carrying water and nutrients through the plant.  They saw how colored water had moved up through the plant to change the color of the plant.  They also learned that cacti will swell when they are full of water and shrink back up when they are dry.

We reviewed rings of a tree and the kids both got to flag on this tree poster the year in which they were born.  It was fun to see how much growth the tree had made in the 7 years since Rachel was born.

They looked at an slice of an alfalfa stem through a microscope.  They could clearly see the Epidermis, Xylem, and Phloem that they have studied about this year.

They dissected a flower and put the parts on a pre-labeled worksheet.

They got to play with the Pollinator Station and match the bee, bird, butterfly, and bat puppets with the types of flowers they are attracted to.

We got to see the spores of a fern in the Phylum Pterophyta.

The kids liked this three dimensional model of the parts of a flower.

They learned about different types of roots.

This demonstration was great because it showed how roots help to hold the soil in place and prevent erosion.  On one try was a container of just dirt and when the kids poured water over it the water that drained out was full of dirt.  But when they poured water over the container that had grass growing in it, the water that drained out was clear because the roots held the dirt in place.

Next they visited the Seed Station.  Here are lots of different kinds of seeds and they each have different ways of being dispersed.

I just love this demonstration below of how a burr can get stuck on an animal's fur (or imagine a kid's sock!) and get transported to another place where it falls off and gets planted.

They dissected a lima bean to see the inner parts of a seed.  Nicholas was quick to find the radicle.

Finally, they even planted their own Lemon Mint seeds in cups to bring home.  Once they had completed all of the stations, we headed over to the Rory Meyer Children Adventure Garden to spend a few hours.

We stopped at the Lay Family Garden just outside of the Children's Garden.  The kids were obsessed with watching the fish.  They put their hands on the water and giggled as they felt the fish swim by.

We learned about how certain fruits and vegetables help different parts of the body.  Since we are here for school, we focused on the ones that helped brain function!  Ok, kids!  We'll be having spinach, collard greens, apricots, cauliflower, and plums for lunch today!

For the tired mama, I couldn't help but take note of the plants that are best for energy - broccoli, bananas, grapes, oranges, and peanuts.  So good to know!

Look at the beautiful blooms on the Strawberry Sequoia!  I've never seen this plant before but I love it!

I've also never seen artichokes growing.  I usually only see them after they have been cut up and marinated in little jars to use as a salad topping.

Ewww!  What's that smell??  I don't know how we've never seen this Smell Station!  The kids took a whiff at each white circle and then tried to guess what kind of food they were smelling.  Then they looked under the red flap to find the answer.  I won't give away the answers but there were some easy ones and some tricky ones.

Rachel loved the chime pad in the hedge maze.  If I ever wondered where she was in the maze, I would just wait for a moment and sure enough I would hear her at the pad in a matter of minutes.

Of course we had to take a walk in the clouds at the amazing tree house!

One side of the tree house in completely enclosed in climbable netting.  They love to climb right up to the top of it!

Nicholas found a giant Roly Poly!

And Rachel found...her favorite, Wood Sorrel!!  Yes, she helped pick weeds at the Arboretum!

One of my favorites in the garden is this giant kaleidoscope.  I'd love to have one of these.  It is so fun to look through.

There are three different discs that you can spin to change what you see each time.

We talked about math in nature, the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers.

Nicholas noticed these creepy little red and black beetles on a cactus plant.  What are they?

We always spend a long time in the physical science area.  Here we were playing with the wind tunnel that blows air around up to 70 mph!

Then they played with some more wind exhibits, mostly just to cool off from the heat.

Or just being super silly!

They like the water power section the best and you can tell because they usually end up getting wet.  They twisted the Archimedes Screw to pull water to the top and fill a bucket that dumped out when it got full.

And they shot water guns to try to make the discs spin around.

Although we've been to the Dallas Arboretum and the Children's Garden many times, today was especially fun because it was our first time to try their educational programming.  We enjoyed it and the kids learned some and got a good review on things they already learned this year in Botany.  I would definitely recommend it.

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