This was a fun Sketch Tuesday assignment! We learned a lot about whales with our Apologia Zoology II curriculum, and had a great review with our recent read-aloud Seabird, and our study of the South Atlantic. Somewhere in all the books, study and videos we remembered that whales live a long time! Grace decided to sketch the Bowhead Whale, which does not migrate to the South Atlantic like other species, but stays up in the Arctic regions.
We found information on Ask.com which quoted a Wikipedia report describing a bowhead whale specimen caught off of the coast of Alaska, found with ”the head of an explosive harpoon embedded deep under its neck blubber. The 3.5 inches (89 mm) arrow-shaped projectile was manufactured in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a major whaling center, around 1890, suggesting the animal may have survived a similar hunt more than a century ago.” It is now believed that Bowhead whales live longer than other whale species, and possibly as long as 150 to 200 years.
Bow Head Whale for Sketch Tuesday
We sent the sketch in to Harmony Art Mom who coordinates Sketch Tuesday, and here is a slideshow of all the participants and the various things they sketched that “live a long time.” We were especially delighted to see Yoda appear!
Today, I did the messiest experiment! Dad got Vaseline all over himself.
Our experiment was to show the benefit of a layer of blubber to sea creatures, particularly those who spend a lot of time in cold water like whales, sea lions, seals and walruses.
We had to put an inch of Vaseline or shortening all over a gloved hand, and it was really messy! Then we were to put a second glove over top of the Vaseline. We were using medical gloves, which fit super-tight! When Dad tried to put the second glove on me, the Vaseline oozed out, so he had to try to stuff it back into the glove, into the fingers and everything. If felt really gooey, and I laughed really hard!
My other hand just had two gloves, but no layer of “blubber.”
I found out that blubber is WAY better than just skin in ice water. I could hold my hand in the ice water three times longer with my “blubber!”
Our Swimming Creatures of the Sixth Day curriculum kicks off with information about the ocean itself, and one of the neat activities demonstrates how water temperature affects water movement. Thermohaline currents are deep ocean currents, caused by temperature, or salt content or both. In this experiment we were only working with water temperature.
Our question: Which is heavier - hot or cold water? Grace decided that hot water was heavier.
The procedure is as follows: First put a few drops of blue food coloring in a clear container of hot water. Then put a few drops of yellow, in a cup of ice water. Pierce the cup, and observe the yellow ice water, as it escapes into the blue hot water.
Then we did the experiment in reverse: This time put the blue food coloring in a clear container of ice water. Then put a few drops of yellow in a cup of hot water. Pierce the cup, and observe the warm yellow water, as it escapes into the cold blue water.
We observed that the yellow cold water leaked toward the bottom, and then mixed. We also observed that the blue food coloring blended really quickly in the hot water. We then observed that the hot yellow water when it leaked moved upward. Grace decided after watching this that “Really, I have to say that cold water is heavier than hot water. ”
Here are a few photos, followed by our conclusion!
She didn’t like the idea that her hypothesis was proven wrong, but I explained to her that this is actually how science is supposed to work! If you ignore your results, or try to skew the results to prove your hypothesis, you might be considered a global warming expert!
After a WONDERFUL Christmas break, Grace and I headed back up to the school room last Monday! We started a few new things - one of which is the second book in the Zoology series which focuses on sea creatures. The first chapter discusses salinity, tides, the continental shelf and abyssal plain and also phytoplankton and zooplankton. I was so excited to receive this timely photo from NASA of a plankton bloom – it’s quite lovely! The NASA description is below the image.
Stirring Up a Bloom Off Patagonia
Off the coast of Argentina, two strong ocean currents recently stirred up a colorful brew of floating nutrients and microscopic plant life just in time for the Southern Hemisphere’s summer solstice. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of a massive phytoplankton bloom off of the Atlantic coast of Patagonia on Dec. 21, 2010. Scientists used seven separate spectral bands to highlight the differences in the plankton communities across this swath of ocean.
Image Credit: NASA