Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Flying Reptiles!

12/18/2008
We are on lesson 8 of Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and today, we learned about Pterosaurs! "Pterosaur" comes from the Greek words meaning "winged lizard." We read that a paleontologist studies fossils to learn about extinct creatures. To understand how hard it is to guess with only a little information, we found an old photo of a family member that we didn't know much about. We looked for clues in the picture and then guessed what she may be like. Then we called the boys' grandma, who knew a lot about her, to see if we were close. We were able to guess a few things about her, but we learned a lot that we never could have guessed from the photo! We agreed that it is a difficult job to guess things based on only a small amount of information! Then we read about Pterosaurs in history. Isaiah mentions a "winged serpent" in Isaiah 14:29 and 30:6 and we wonder if Isaiah was referring to a pterosaur in these passages? Historians, such as Herodotus, who lived 450 years before Christ, recorded seeing "winged serpents." Josephus, who lived during the time of Jesus, also wrote about creatures that sound like pterosaurs. We read that modern day people in the jungles of Africa and South America have described and drawn pictures of what look like Pterosaurs. We learned about the two basic groups of pterosaurs, that their bones are hollow like birds', and they have a large flocculus, which helps them balance and also tells us that they were excellent fliers. We measured using Dylan's feet to get an idea of how big a pterodon's wingspan is - he had to take about 37.5 steps with his 8 inch feet to equal the wingspan. We were impressed until we read that a quetzalcoatlus has a wingspan of 40 feet (that would be 60 Dylan feet long!) and its head alone is 6 feet tall. See the picture above to get an idea how big they were! Here are the boys notebooking all that they can remember about pterosaurs.
There is evidence that pterosaurs may have laid eggs, so we made a "fossil" of a baby pterosaur hatching out of its egg. This was fun! We used a hard boiled egg to make the imprint of the egg. We did not make our fossil mold deep enough, so two of them cracked. But the imprints we made of the baby pterosaurs still looked cool!
Some links we visited today: Drawing of Pterosaurs Are dinosaurs alive today? Pterosaurs Still Living Thunderbirds The last 6 lessons in our Zoology 1 book cover insects, bugs and butterflies. We think this would be a lot more fun to study when the weather is warm, so we will continue Zoology 1 in the Spring and move on to Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 - Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day! We're ready to slip on our scuba gear! By the way, have I ever mentioned that I think this is the BEST science curriculum we have ever done? As author Jeannie Fulbright puts it, "The material is presented in a conversational, engaging style that will make science enchanting and memorable for your students, creating an environment in which learning is a joy." In my words, it is "delightful learning!"

1 comment:

Jolanthe @ No Ordinary Moments said...

Just leaving a comment to let you know that we just got this book (I got it to review - hooray!!). Can't wait to start using it with the girls!

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