Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Today's Homeschooling Lesson is brought to you by...

The "Cleaning of the Fish Tank" and "The Slicing of My Finger".

We haven't had a biology lesson in some time so when I was cleaning out the fish tank (and wondering exactly why it was we have these stupid goldfish in the first place), I scraped a little bit of the glop into a cup.  I set up the microscope and we viewed the tiny marvels under a 100x power magnifying lens.

After  Rhiannon drew a picture of the different life forms, we went online to try and identify them.

We positively identified vorticella, rotifers, didinium, euglena and paramecium.  Then we watched a video on microbial life in fresh water and came upon the neatest thing I've ever seen (under a microscope, that is); a waterbear.  We didn't have one ourselves, but watched a youtube video on them.  Very cool.

Rhiannon didn't really get past the "neat-o" aspect of the biology lesson, but I am still in awe at the amount of life that we don't even know exists.  Or, the amount of life that we know exists (at least in the back of our heads), but don't even consider in our day to day happenings.  I mean, come on, if you even saw a few seconds of that waterbear, you'd have to start questioning your own place in this universe.  That thing is micro-freaking-scopic.  And it looks like a little eight-legged bear.
This dude lived in space for ten days.  No helmet, no spacesuit.
After filling our brains with biological and microscopic nomenclature in an attempt to become somewhat more intelligent on the subject of paramecium and the amazing tardigrade (fancy pants word for the waterbear), I had a "dumb" moment while preparing a salad for supper that very evening.  I wasn't paying attention and sliced my finger.  That stupid thing bled for what seemed like an eternity.  There was blood everywhere.  Well, maybe not everywhere, but it sure seemed like it.  I'm not a fan of blood on my person, especially those that are caused by slices, so I had Paul clean and bandage me up so I didn't pass out on the kitchen floor.  Yes.  I am one of "those" people.  I can put a bullet through a goat's brain, drain the blood, skin, cut and butcher it, but I tend to get all pale and clammy and occasionally go unconscious if I slice a piece of my own flesh.

Oh, back to the blood bath in the kitchen.

Since there was blood gushing out of my index finger, I grabbed one of the microscope slides still conveniently located on the kitchen counter and smeared some of my life onto it.  Then got to see what red blood cells looked like.
Would you LOOK at all the blood!  I mean, it was just
gushing everywhere.  EVERYwhere!!!!!!  Auuggghhh!!!!
My lifeblood, for all to see, and watch die.
I thought it was neat / freaky.  Rhiannon was pretty much "Eh" about it.  Blood cells don't really "do" anything so I can understand her indifference to it, especially when compared to that waterbear.

But we got to scratch off "Biology" for the day on our school list and I'm now obsessed with waterbears.  Oh, and my finger still hurts.


  1. That is so cool! I remember in 4th grade we looked at our own strand of hair. It was really cool to see what our hair collects on any given day!
    Love the idea of the water bear....their pretty cool!

  2. We used to have a microscope during our homeschooling days. It was fun too. Sorry for your finger. Hope it heals up nicely.

  3. Carolyn,

    When I was young my parents purchase a microscope set for me. I think I put everything possible on slides and entertained the entire family with my findings.
    The picture of the waterbear above kind of resembles the manatee (without the 8 legs of course).

    Ouch! Your finger looks painful.

  4. Waterbear?! Now I just know I'm gonna have nightmares about waterbears. (Hmmm, nightmares about waterbears . . . could that be made into a children's book? Maybe I'm the only one freaked out by the looks of that creature and it would be wildly popular and end up on the best seller's list.) Where was I? Oh, yeah. Although Rhiannon didn't seem to excited over her biology lesson, I'm betting that whole process will remain with her.

    Sliced up fingers are the bane of those of us wielding knives in the kitchen while letting our minds wander. One like you gave yourself is slow to heal 'cause you're always using that finger. I once got a cut on my ring finger and thought "no big deal, I rarely use that finger . . . " Ha! Yours is your index finger and you'll have a time keeping it away from any everyday use/abuse. Take care of it.

  5. I think I would have preferred being homeschooled. By you. But, then again, that is not possible unless you believe in time travel. Do you? :)