Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Columbia River

Show Family 2 Reporting Live from Washington.  We are enjoying camping right on the Columbia River here.

The Columbia River begins in the country Canada. The Columbia River drains in seven states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah. It flows for more than 1,200 miles, from the base of the Canadian Rockies to the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon, and Ilwaco, Washington.

The explorers that we are learning about rowed down this river in dug out canoes. Their names were Lewis & Clark. Lewis & Clark explored places in the United States that were not known about yet. We think they might have been very impressed by this river when they saw it too. What do you think?

One of the reasons we like the Columbia River is because it is full of salmon. Remember how we like salmon and Austin tried to catch some? We drove to a dam in the river yesterday so we could see the fish ladder there that lets fish get through. It was interesting.

We learned some facts about the fish in the river. Did you know that when the river reaches 69 degrees, that is too warm for the fish? We love swimming in water that warm. We must be different than fish in that way. We learned about how trash and litter can hurt the fish and how we can help by cleaning litter away when we see it.

We also learned how native trees and dirt are important for the river to stay healthy. Remember how we said the water can't get too warm for the fish? Trees and plants help to keep the water cool so they can live. There is a club called Kids for the Columbia Club that kids can join to help keep this river big and strong.

One more fun thing to know about the Columbia River is that 2.100 ships have shipwrecked at the mouth. When we were in Long Beach, Washinton one of the people that lived there told us about special boat captains they have there to help the boats come in because of all of the shipwrecks. They are the only ones allowed to drive boats there because they know how to do it without wrecking. Isn't that cool?

More Columbia River Fun: Lower Columbia River Kids Website

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Olympic National Park-Hoh Rainforest

We went to the Olympic National Park again today. First, Austin made a new friend. Then we stopped and saw another huge tree. This one was 500 years old. Austin shared with us that they make guitars out of this kind of tree. How many guitars do you think could be made from this tree?
Then we went to the Hoh Rainforest. We stopped at the visitor center to learn some things and pick up a trail map.Our favorite thing by far was seeing elk, up close and personal, three different times!
More about the rainforests here:

Ocean-Born Forests
The lush forests in the Quinault, Queets, Hoh, and Bogachiel valleys are some of the most spectacular examples of primeval temperate rain forest in the lower 48 states. These rain forests once stretched from southern Oregon to southeast Alaska, but little remains outside of protected areas. Other temperate rain forests grow in a few isolated spots around the world including Chile, New Zealand and southern Australia.

Recipe for Olympic's Temperate Rain Forest

  • Rain—lots of it. Storms off the Pacific Ocean drop much of their moisture on these west-facing valleys. Precipitation in Olympic's rain forest ranges from 140 to 167 inches (12 to 14 feet) every year.
  • Moderate temperatures. In these low elevation valleys the temperature seldom drops below freezing and summertime highs rarely exceed 80°F.
  • Epiphytes, or plants growing on other plants. Mosses, spike mosses, ferns and lichens festoon tree trunks and branches, giving the forest a "jungle-like" feel.
  • Large, old trees. The dominant species are Sitka spruce and western hemlock, but other conifers and several deciduous species grow as well. Many are 100s of years old and can reach 250 feet in height and 30 to 60 feet in circumference.
  • Nurse logs. Because of the densely covered ground, many seedlings instead germinate on fallen, decaying trees. As they grow, their roots reach to the ground. When the log eventually rots away, a colonnade, or row of trees on stilt-like roots, remains.
  • Dead wood. When the massive trees die, they eventually fall, but can take centuries to slowly decay back to the soil. Throughout their long death, they provide important habitat for whole communities, including mosses, tree seedlings, fungi, small mammals, amphibians, and insects.
  • Roosevelt elk. The thick, layered canopy above moderates the temperature year-round for wildlife, including the largest wild populations of Roosevelt elk in the U.S. On the forest floor, elk browsing shapes the appearance of their forest home.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Olympic National Park

Today we visited Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. I won't share all of the things we did today, but I wanted to share a few that I thought you mind find interesting. The very first thing we did was to eat something. They had more than one place to eat, and since we were not hungry for a big meal, we picked this place. We each had something from the "Dog Pound". The next thing we did was to go and get a map, and talk to one of the people that worked there to ask some questions. Austin put a stamp in our passport book. Our passport book has all of the National Parks and Monuments listed in it, and places to put stamps for them. We have been doing this since we began our trip, so we have quite a few by now!This was what we did next:That's right-we got to see the World's Largest Spruce Tree! As you can see on the sign, it is almost 1,000 years old. It was so tall, I could not fit the whole tree in my picture. You can see how big it is with Papa standing up next to it!And here is Austin standing on the trunk of the tree. It was so huge!We had a lot of fun seeing this amazing tree! What do you think of it?

Fun Stuff

More information about the record trees here: Record Trees

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kite Making in Washington

Today we visited a kite museum and while there, we made our own kites. This can give you some idea of how to make your own too:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Kite Flying in Oregon

Today we went to a kite shop here so we could buy two kites. We are going to be visiting a kite festival, so we wanted to learn more about kites before then. Here is the shop:

After picking out the perfect kite, we headed over to the beach to try them out. Here is how you begin when flying the kites:Then you wait for a gust of wind to lift the kite a little bit:And then you run really fast while the kite lifts into the air:Do you see how high it is in this picture? We had so much fun!
A Very Short History of the Kite:

The kite has been around since at least 2,800 years ago. The kite is believed to be invented by the famous 5th century BC Chinese philosophers Mozi and Lu Ban.

Kites can be designed with many different shapes, forms, and sizes. They can take the form of flat geometric designs, boxes and other three-dimensional forms, or modern sparless inflatable designs. Kites flown by children are often simple geometric forms (for example, the diamond). In Asia, children fly dried symmetrical leaves on sewing thread and sled-style kites made from sheets of folded writing paper.

Benjamin Franklin was known for flying a kite for an experiment. He was flying kites long before this though. In fact, young Ben once swam across a lake with a kite attached to his toe. He was curious whether it would carry him across the water, and it did.

How to Make Your Own Kite

Kite One
Kite Two
Kite Three
Kite Four

Books About Kites

The Emperor and the Kite
Curious George and the Kite

Unit Study About Kites

Study One
Study Two
Study for the book The Emperor and the Kite
Comprehensive study with tons of links
The virtual Kite Zoo
Crayola Chinese Kites

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Show Family 2 here, reporting live from California. Today we visited a national park that is named after the Joshua Tree. One of the rangers told us that this is not actually a tree, but is related to the flower the lily.

More information:

Lesson Plans

Teaching with Historic Places
Keys Ranch: Where Time Stood Still
Learn NPS

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

San Diego Natural History Museum

This is Show Family 2 reporting live from San Diego CA. We are almost all the way to the Mexican border here and we are enjoying the sunny weather. One of the fun things we've done while here is to visit this museum with models of dinosaurs. Are you as fascinated by these wonderful animals as we are? We learned all sorts of interesting things about them.

We also learned more about fossils while here. You can visit some of the links below to see what we did learn here.

Unit Studies/Teaching Guides
After the Dinosaurs: When Crocodiles Ruled
The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park: The Lost World (K-8)
Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight

Dinosaur Word Search
Dinosaur Word Search 2
Jurassic Jumble

Dinosaur Games & Activities (Experiments)
Dino and Fossil Activities

Dinosaur Math
Math Learning Videos

Geological Timeline (Printable)

Fun Facts
Paleontology FAQ

Books recommended by the Museum

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pets Rule Show at Sea World

One of the things we did while visiting San Diego, California was to visit Sea World. One of our favorite things we did there was to watch the Pets Rule show. It is a show were pets do tricks. Tricks like jump roping:
Jumping over a pole:
More jump roping:
and cheerleading:
and of course, a favorite trick-catching frisbees:
We think this show is neat because all of the pets they use are animals that have been rescued. We didn't show them here, but they also have pigs and cats in the show. What is your favorite trick out of all of the tricks here? We like the jump rope trick!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Show Family 2 here: One of the things we have done this past week, is to get bird feeders to hang outside of our RV. We were hoping to attract different birds so we could see them up close and personal.

The hummingbirds have been some of our favorite visitors:Some facts about the hummingbird:

They are the tiniest birds on the planet. They are famous for more than their beauty and size. They are the only bird that can fly backwards. When they hover in the air, their wings can beat up to 72 times per second!

Hummingbirds hearts beat amazingly fast too. The blue-throated hummingbird's heart beats at 1260 beats per minute. They can fly at a steady speed of about 29 mph.

Hummingbirds are BIG eaters. They can eat twice as much as their body weighs each and every day. That's about the same as if a kid who weighs 50 pounds ate 100 hamburgers a day.

Hummingbirds digest their food really quickly. It only takes about ten minutes for a fruit fly to pass completely through one end to the other of a hummingbird.

How long do these incredible birds live? When kept in a cage and cared for, they have been able to live as long as dogs-about nine to fourteen years.

Coloring Pages with Hummingbirds
Color Your World
Enchanted Learning

Online Jigsaw Puzzle

How You Can Help Hummingbirds
Operation Ruby Throat

Monday, May 25, 2009

Montezuma Castle National Monument~Camp Verde, Arizona

One of the things we have been able to do since we have been in Arizona is visit a very old castle that is actually a cliff dwelling.

It is in a National Park and we were able to do fun things to earn ranger badges first:Then we walked down to see the castle. This does not look like any castle that I have ever seen before. How about you?It was built by the Sinagua Indians. There name means without water because they had to farm in an area that doesn't have much water. They built this castle about 900 years ago and left it about 600 years ago.

Here is Abby to tell you what she thinks about it:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Grand Canyon National Park~South Rim

This is Show Family 2 reporting from Arizona. We were able to visit the Grand Canyon National Park the other day!

It is one of the coolest things we have visited so far. It is so huge that you can hardly believe your eyes when looking at it. It is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Here is Auburn telling you about it:

And here is our dog Ace:

Lesson Plans/Unit Studies
Official Site of Grand Canyon
Activities on how to become a ranger
Lesson plans about TGC from K-12

Hey Ranger!

More information
Lost in the Grand Canyon from PBS
National Geographic

NG presents The Grand Canyon for Kids

Elk at the Grand Canyon National Park

This is Show Family 2 reporting from Arizona. One of the places we have visited while here is the Grand Canyon. We saw some elk while visiting here.

Elk are one of the largest species of deer and one of the largest mammals in North America and eastern Asia. They live in forests or on the edge of forest. They eat grass, plants, leaves and bark.

Here is a movie we took of one of the elk we saw:

More information about elk:

National Geographic

Lesson Plans/Unit Studies

Curriculum about elk
Too many elk? lesson plan

Coloring Pages

American elk

Elk coloring page
E is for elk page
Yellowstone elk page

Children's books

Ella, the elk

Squirrel at Grand Canyon National Park

This is Show Family 2 reporting from Arizona. Another animal we saw while visiting the Grand Canyon was the squirrel. Our niece Mikaylah was able to feed one by hand:

Squirrels are one of the most successful animals when it comes to learning to live together with humans. They mostly live in trees. They eat plants, nuts, fruit and some flowers. Sometimes squirrels try to move into people houses and have to be removed. I think they are so cute. Do you like squirrels?

More facts:
National Geographic

Squirrel escape
Squirrel maze

Arts and Crafts
Nutty squirrels
Many squirrel crafts and activities
Pine cone squirrel craft

Coloring pages
Multiple pages of squirrels
S if for squirrel page

Scaredy Squirrel

Friday, May 15, 2009

Arizona~Grand Canyon State

This is Show Family 2 reporting live from Arizona. We are here visiting for about a month.
Here is the state flag:
Arizona comes from two Papago Indian words meaning "little spring" or "young spring".

Arizona is home to many Indian cultures such as the Apache and the Navajo. Arizona has the largest Native American population of any state. More than 14 tribes are represented on 20 reservations, including part of the Navajo Nation, which is located in the Four Corners region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

Spanish treasure seekers from Mexico arrived in the area in the 16th century, thus establishing Mexico's claim to the area. The area was ruled by Spain until Mexico won its independence in 1821. Mexico ceded the territory to the United States as part of New Mexico during the Mexican-American War of 1848. The Gadsden Purchase, an area south of the Gila River, was added in 1853. Arizona was organized as a territory in 1863 and became the 48th state in 1912.

Arizona is full of beautiful natural attractions like the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest. It is also home to the old London Bridge.

Major Rivers: Colorado River, Little Colorado River, Gila River, Bill Williams River

More info
Desert animals
Desert plants
The Sonoran Desert

Coloring Pages

State bird and flower

Arts and Crafts
Desert Diorama

Monday, May 11, 2009

Clemmons Educational State Forest in North Carolina

This is Lauren from Show Family one reporting: Last week we visited North Carolina on our way back home from Florida. While there we visited Clemmons Educational State Forest.They had rattlesnakes and copperheads in glass containers. The copperhead was pretty, but scary.They had a mole snake that was bigger than the container it was in.

We did some hiking there and I was worried about ticks. We did not get any ticks on us though.

Disney Fort Wilderness Campground in Florida

Hi, this is Lauren from Show Family One reporting. We took a trip from Virginia to Florida last week. We stayed at the Disney campground. We love the Disney campground. It has horses and golf carts that you can rent. On the last day we rented a golf cart. (This is a picture of my uncle and cousins when they rented a golf cart there:
We put our dog Coby on it and he barked up a storm. A little boy saw Coby and acted like he was in awe of him because he thought he was so handsome. My Aunt Dot and Uncle Fred came to visit us and she asked if Coby were a girl or a boy. My mom laughed and told them he is a boy.

We did not go into Walt Disney World this trip, but we did swim and they had a big water slide that even the adults could slide down. My brother Josh rode on it but they had to turn the jets off when he rode on it. We swam almost every day we were there and we got sunburned more than we got tan.

We went to the beach twice when we were in Florida. I swam out really far. I was nervous because they had a lot of jelly fish there, but I didn't see any. We didn't bury each other in the sand because my Dad doesn't like sand. We had fun!