The Salamander Room {FI♥AR}

We are using Sonlight Core A this school year, but when I pulled out our first day-5 Science book, Tadpoles and Frogs, and realized that it is meant just for us to enjoy reading (no activities or discussion questions), I decided to focus on that book for our extra learning. . . which inspired me to pull out Five in a Row Volume 3 and row The Salamander Room! I am so happy I did ~ not only for the extra learning, but for the fun summer memories.

We rowed this over THREE weeks, but only after each week from core A was completed, and I only did activities that came naturally. But, when I am motivated and inspired, everything seems to come naturally! This is how I want Five in a Row to happen this year and why I believe Sonlight is to be our focus. I love having everything planned out, scheduled for me and ready to go! We are flying through Core A (we are on week 7) and I have to remember that we have our regular studies (math, language arts, etc.) to do, too! I just want to read, read, read! And my kids love it.

Week 1: Tadpoles, Frogs, and Pond Life

We added pond life to our study of tadpoles and frogs and went to the pond to see what we could see (was hoping to catch a frog, like we did when we rowed Play With Me, but we didn't). 

We saw turtles, fish, freshwater algae (pond scum), reeds, cattails and grasses growing in or along the pond. 
We did some frog life cycle crafts. . . 


A fun go along ~ Toad by the Road
Fun, easy to read poems with toadally cool facts. ;-) 

We did a nature study on lily pads. 


I read Apologia Elementary's Zoology 3: Land Animals, Lesson 11 (on amphibians) to Malachi and he did the notebooking page on the lifecycle of a frog. 

I ordered Insect Lore's frog life cycle stages and used water beads to make a frog life cycle sensory tub. 

They played hide and seek with the stages and named each stage as they found it. 

Week 2: Butterflies

We jumped ahead to include Caterpillars and Butterflies (a Core A day-5 science book for weeks 19-21).  We would not have enjoyed it as much in the wintertime, for sure! 

We found a butterfly in the backyard that let Nathan pick it up and hand it to Eliana. 

An awe-inspiring moment.

Eliana and I made an edible butterfly lifecycle. 

Edible Butterfly Life Cycle
  • cottage cheese on a leaf {eggs}
  • celery stick with hummus {caterpillar}
  • chocolate covered sprouted almond {pupa}
  • pretzels and p'nut butter cup {butterfly} with mandarin oranges and strawberries
he he, love that she wanted to be in the pic! 

I read Where Butterflies Grow ~ a beautiful book. 

and A Butterfly is Patient.

Eliana took this pic while I ran inside. :) 

I later read from Zoo 1: Flying Creatures on the lesson on Lepidoptera (butterflies are called leps).

The next day, we had a surprise in the mail ~ a butterfly kit from Insect Lore! This is our very first time raising butterflies. By the time they got to us, the caterpillars were already grown and started pupating the next day and we had butterflies within a week.

We kept them for a few days and then released them in the garden. 

We did a butterfly life cycle drawing and made a cute bag book using Lift and Look Science (that I bought during the Scholastic dollar days.) 

Malachi's Butterfly Lifecycle

We also did a Butterfly Pop Up book.

Week 3

Malachi made an illustrated list for our Salamander Room diorama, we had a party, and we went on a field trip to see Salamanders at Reptile Gardens!

Inspired by Cindy @ Mom Heart Home, I decorated our table with an Insect Toob and a Reptile Toob and displayed our "Salamander Room." 

For our party, we had:
  • butterfly nectar (mango nectar juice)
  • dirt cups (chocolate pudding with crushed cookie)
  • veggie flower tray
  • rainbow salad 
  • "frog eggs" (tapioca pudding)
  • "Salamander Rolls" (hot dogs with crescent rolls)
  • "beetles and beetle wings" (black olives and potato chips)

Dirt Cups ~ chocolate pudding with crushed chocolate chip cookies. 

Butterfly Nectar ~ mango nectar juice

Rainbow Salad

Veggie flower tray with homemade ranch dip

Beetle's wings

"Frog eggs"

"Salamander Rolls" ~ {Hebrew National} hot dogs with homemade crescent roll dough

Malachi's illustrated list for our Salamander Room

(to make the wet leaves, I brushed olive oil on the top of the leaves to make them look wet
and we used a floral moss sheet for the floor)
Our salamander room got lots of use by Eliana!

We took a field trip to Reptile Gardens, learned some fun facts about salamanders, and saw other amphibians and of course, reptiles.

Salamander ~ doesn't it look like he is smiling? :) 

July 4th, 2012

Back home, we were inspired to do more nature study and continued to find more things that Brian brought into his Salamander room, like mushrooms!

The Salamander Room is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 3. 

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  1. Love this! Your rows are always inspiring... we are rowing Salamander Room with Alex this Summer... the older kids are doing The Raft... time to study wetlands some more! :D Thanks, as always, for some great ideas~

    1. Aw, thanks Cass! ♥ It's such a great summer row ~ have fun! Excited to see you row The Raft - I've not even pulled that one down yet!