Week at a Glance:
- Books for Kids GIVEAWAY: Geography From A to Z by Jack Knowlton
- What is a Biome?
- FREE Printable: Biomes Research
- Biomes Resources
- How to Make a Biome Terrarium
- Terrarium Samples
- Plant a Terrarium for Mom this Mother’s Day!
Books for Kids GIVEAWAY: Geography From A to Z by Jack Knowlton
Why we love this book:
This week we continue with Geography From A to Z, as we research Biomes and create our Biomes Terrarium Project. This is one geography resource book that every classroom and homeschool library should include.
Geography From A to Z is not a story book. It is a geography reference book written and illustrated specifically for children. Accordingly, it is not the type of book you read from cover to cover during one sitting. It is however, a valuable resource during a geography theme study or as a year round reference book.
Geography From A to Z is a dictionary of geography terms beginning with “archipelago” and ending with “zone”. The target age is early elementary; however, the concise definitions and bold illustrations can certainly be used by older children as well. This is a geography book that we can grow with throughout our school years.
Geography for Kids Lesson 8
Geography Biomes Terrarium Project
MacGyver began our Biomes Terrarium project by researching and writing definitions for our Biomes vocabulary terms.
Biomes Research Supplies:
- A Child’s Introduction to The World by Heather Alexander p. 29 – 31
- Geography From A to Z by Jack Knowlton
- Variety of Biomes Books
- FREE printable: Geography Biomes
How to Make a Terrarium
Biomes Terrarium Supplies:
- sphagnum moss
- African violet potting mix or cactus potting mix
- moss rocks and moss bark (*optional)
- decor: pebbles, marbles, shells, mini animals (*optional)
- Variety of Glass Containers with lids and without lids.
- We hit the local thrift shops to score our VERY INEXPENSIVE glass containers.
- Most did not come as a set. We bought bowls and vases and matched them with candle holders and saucers for lids.
- We carefully washed and dried all of our glass containers before beginning our planting project.
Preparation: Nature Scavenger Hunt
- The kiddos went on a scavenger hunt searching for moss covered rocks and bark. (the smaller the better)
- They collected decor items such as rocks and sticks.
Step 1: Add About 1 Inch Layer of Pebbles, Rocks or Marbles for Drainage
- We washed our pebbles before putting them in our containers.
Step 2: Add a Layer of Dry Moss
- The moss is to keep the soil from mixing with the rocks and making an ugly muddy mess.
Step 3: Add About 2 inches of Soil
- African violet or cactus potting mix are recommended.
Should I Add Activated Charcoal to My Terrarium?
*Did you know there is an activated charcoal controversy? Well let me tell you, there is! When I began researching terrariums, I kept seeing the ingredient activated charcoal. I had no idea what that was and NONE of the employees at the gardening centers knew what it was!!! After more research, I learned that activated charcoal is used in fish tank filters. Consequently, you can purchase it at the pet store. However, before you run to the pet store . . . I also read over and over again that activated charcoal is an unnecessary ingredient when making terrariums. It is intended to stop mold and yucky smells in closed terrariums. I decided to roll the dice and go without the activated charcoal. Four months later our terrariums do not seem to miss the activated charcoal. It is recommended that you replant your terrarium once every year.
Step 4: Add Plants and Decorations to Terrarium
- Creating a Biome means that like plants must be planted with like plants – tropical plants with tropical plants, succulents with succulents, cactus with cactus.
- Top your tropical plants with lids and you will have nearly self-contained Biomes. Very little watering necessary.
How to Care For Your Terrarium:
- All research warns that watering is a bit tricky. Over watering is the most common mistake.
- Miss Enigma loves watering our terrariums. About once a week she opens the lids and mist the tropical plants with a little rain.
- If your tropical plants begin to rot, you are watering too much!
- It is recommended that succulents NOT be misted. We use an old vanilla bottle with dropper to water only the rocks at the roots of the succulents.
- It is recommended that you replant your terrarium once every year.
Terrarium Observations and Excitement
Within a few days of planting, the children were thrilled to find the a tiny fern frond sprouting. Soon there were more fronds reaching for the sky.
It didn’t take long for the fresh little fern frond to unfurl. My kiddos find such joy in observing nature in action.
Another daily pastime for the kiddos is watching the mossy bits found on our scavengered pieces of bark spread across the pebbles in the terrariums.
Yes, this visitor has MacGyver’s name written all over it. As we were planting our terrariums, MacGyver spotted this anole lizard basking in the sun. MacGyver quickly scooped it up and added it to one of our succulent terrariums. Crazy lizard. He actually stayed and hung out with us as we planted. That’s MacGyver for you!
Make Mom a Terrarium for Mother’s Day
The kiddos made quite a variety of terrariums and gave them as gifts to grandma and our adopted grandma next door. These terrariums were so easy for the kiddos to make and let’s face it they have a bit more longevity than macaroni jewelry!
We’re GIVING AWAY one copy Geography From A to Z by Jack Knowlton
To enter this contest, use the Rafflecopter to answer the following question. After you leave a comment, you can move ahead with more entries.
Answer the following question in the comments section of this post.
What are you giving Mom for Mother’s Day? (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)
No entries after 11:59 pm Central Time, Sunday, May 11, 2014
The winner must be a resident of The United States.
You can also enter by leaving a comment on last week’s post: Geography Landforms From A to Z
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