Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We've moved to a new homeschool blog

This blog is old news.  Zoo and Annod are now blogging at Zack's 4th Place Learning.  Follow the intrepid Zoo in a virtual real-time middle school with a good healthy side serving of homeschool 2.0. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Birds at our chalet

great blue heron (Ardeas hirodias): A big beautiful heron surprised on the road as we left our chalet for Toronto. We hear them, but see them less often. More here on this large wetlands bird.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Coral reef

Decompression Sickness in Miskito Indian Lobster
Divers: Review of 229 Cases

Islam: Mecca and science

Journey to Mecca. We saw the film story (dramatic documentary) of Ibn Battuta's (a 14th century Morrocan) first pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca (historical and cultural centre of Islam) on IMAX at the Science Centre. There sure was lots of dust! The timelapse scenes of contemporary pilgrims arriving at and visiting Mecca are astounding.

Educator's Guide: Lots of ideas including: comparison of Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta; ancient cartography; timeline; concept of pilgrimage; vocabulary
The travels of Ibn Battuta from National Geographic
The travels of Ibn Battuta: a virtual tour

Sultans of Science: 1000 Years of Knowledge Rediscovered exhibition at the Science Centre focussing on math, science, and technology. VideoW

We concentrated on: applied hydrology; architecture (arches)

Educator's Guide

Monday, July 13, 2009


Kittens Pounce Clumsily On Furry, Green Spiders (from Utah Education Network)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beetles (Coleoptera) in our backyard

-from the Greek: coleos=sheath + ptera=wings
-distinctive front wings called elytra, which are usually hard
-most can fly
-chewing mouthparts
-complete metamorphosis
-largest order with 300,000+ species
-common families = scarab, leaf, lady, and ground beetles

copper beetle: super family Buprestid (metallic wood-boring beetles) dicerca lurida. This may look like an ordinary nondescript beetle, but when you shine a light, it is a urprising luminous metallic copper-colour on its back, legs and antennae. He was discovered by Dad in an apple tree.
japanese beetle (popillia japonica): Found by mom on the roses!
lightening bug

True bugs (hemiptera) in our backyard

dog day ciacada (tibicen canicularis): Found by The Beagle on our deck.
rhododendrum leaf hopper (graphocephala fennahi): Found by Zoo on a rose stem.
stilt bug (jalysus): The fourth (end) segment of the antennae was not enlarged on our bug.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moth (Lepidoptera) identification

If you ever thought moths were just the poor second cousin of the butterfly, think again. Thanks to Zoo's keen eyes, the growing interest of his friends, brother, and dad, we are finding new ones almost daily. Identification is a little trickier, but mom is learning. Don't miss the amazing resources of moth macrophotography. There are some personal image collections that would put some hockey card collectors to shame. There are blogs that not only share images, but also observations and enthusiasm.

Butterflies and Moths of North America
The Mothman's blog (Toronto)
Moths of Canada from Government of Canada
Lyn Scott's Lepidoptera Images
Dave's Moth Index
Moth morphology interactive
John Dombroskie's Moth Photographs
Nelson Poirier's Moths of New Brunswick
Canadian National Collection
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Moths (Lepidoptera) in our backyard

We think we have found the following moths in our backyard:

pale matanema (matanema inatomaria): We have not come across other moths with these earthy colours that has a brown tip on the apex of the forewing, but not sure of this identification.
forest tent (Malacosoma disstria) There were two distinct brown bands and browner toward wing attachment, but not sure of this identification.
Another moth was quite pale with two tiny dots on the wings.
white-ribboned carpet moth (Mesoleuca ruficillata): This is a fancy moth with very distinct black and vanilla markings and longer wings. The identification seems certain.
Green Pug Moth--Larenthiinae/Eupitheciini/Pasiphila rectangulata: This is a green moth with shorter wider wings. The identification seems certain.
Pseudaletia unipuncta: Also known as an army worm, this is a non-descript little brown moth. But it could be any number of other little brown nondescript moths.
Pale Beauty Moth--Ennominae/Campaeini/Campaea perlata: This is a larger snow white moth with a delicate beige band running from the inner to costal margins about a third of the way up from the outer margin. The body is short and it has filiform antennae. The identification seems certain.
Eastern Tent Moth Malacosoma americanum
Melanolophia canadaria (Canadian Melanolophia)
Antheraea polyphemus: aka the giant silk moth. This is a HUGE moth!!! The motherload of moths! Zoo measured wingspan at 15 cm. It is way too large for a jar. It has short plumose antennae. There are large eyespots with a dark purple ring on the hind wings, named for Polyphemus in Greek mythology.
Blinded sphynx (Paonias excaecatus): Another amazing moth found just minutes after the giant silk moth. This moth is disguised as a dried up brown leaf. With his hidden forewing, it was more difficult to see the blush at the humeral angle. His shape is quite different from a classic moth.
Trichodezia albovittata: Zoo's friend found this black beauty, larger than an average moth, but smaller than the giant silk moth.
Plume moth (Sphenarches ontario): From the Pterophoridae family, this sleek flyer was spotted on the kitchen ceiling by Dad.
Dwarf tawny wave moth (Cyclophora nanaria) From the Geometridae family (Sterrhinae subfamily), this is a tough one... This is the best guess. Our little guy was browner with more orange yellow contrast.
White spring moth (Lomographa vestaliata): Another best guess. For one thing, it isn't spring anymore. This fellow had yellow femur, like the orange femur of the tiger moth, but it did not have the full plumose antennae (more pectinate), nor a hairy head.
Dogbane tiger moth (Cycnia tenera): Finally an easy ID!
Clover hayworm moth (Hypsopygia costalis): This little one had the shape of a Pyralidae, but couldn't ID him until he opened his wings and we could see his entire gold fringe.
Morning glory plume moth: (Emmelina monodactyla)
Beautiful wood-nymph (Eudryas grata): A fungus-like beauty wearing large hairy white boots on its front legs and sporting yellow hindwings.
small phoenix moth female (Ecliptopera silaceata)
Rose plume moth (Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla)
Small magpie (Eurrhypara hortulata): Another difficult one to track down, this one has a pleasing cream-coloured background, a brown fringe and markings, and sports a sunny yellow cape around his shoulders.
Greater black letter dart (Xestia dolosa) northern variable dart
Maple basswood leafroller (Cenopis pettitana): This yellow moth was a tougher ID, but sure of ID when we found the little orange dots.
Waved sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa): Dad found this one on the upper deck. It is much bigger than the average sized moth and was an easy ID.
Genista broom moth (Uresiphita reversalis): This one surprised us in our living room while we were sitting around waiting for the moth trap to fill up! The picture shown has less of a distinct brown fringe on the orange hindwing than this one did. The following morning we found another owlet moth with orange hind wings and patternings and further investigation suggests that they are all
Lesser yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba)
Eastern tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma americanum)
Boxwood leaftier (Galasa nigrinodis): Dad found this one on the patio. A hard ID, but sure of this one now from the paler trimming on the outside mid wing that gives the appearance of a waist, the clumps and white stripes on the legs, the two shiny copper circles on the shoulder, and the discheveled appearance! This one looks like he was put together with parts from the bottom of the box.
Oak leafshredder ()
Horned spanworm moth (Nematocampa resistaria)
(Lacinipolia meditata)
Cloaked marvel moth (Chytonix palliatricula) This is another yellow underwing owlet moth. This one has amazing double stripe orange.
Single-dotted Wave (Idaea dimidiata)

Structural Engineering

Structural Engineering from Wikipedia
Building Big from PBS
Structurae ("works of structural engineering, architecture or construction through time, history and from around the world")

Medieval arts and crafts

Medieval printable coloring pages from The Coloring Spot

Drawing birds

Bird species printable coloring pages from The Coloring Spot (arctic tern, blue jay, canary, cardinal, chickadee, cockatiel, cuckoo, dodo, eagle, falcon, flamingo, goldfinch, great blue heron, hawk, hummingbird, kingfisher, mockingbird, oriole, ostrich, owl, parakeet, parrot, pelican, pheasant)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tale of Despereaux

Being the tale of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread
by Kate DiCamillo, official website
Newberry medal recipient (2003)
Has also read: The Tiger Rising (2001), The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2006)

Bunnicula series

by Deborah and James Howe
from Wikipedia
Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery

James and the giant peach

by Raold Dahl
listened to on Overdrive Books
Also read: The BFG, The Twits


Free Games. Check out what I have been building lately!

Some ideas for Roblox Gear (copywrited to Zoo)