Science Safari Gallery

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DISD Afterschool Program Participants
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Seriously studying CO2, Mentos and Soda! (Photo by Mark Campbell, copyright 4/2006)
DISD Summer Camp 2006
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Summer Fun = Reptiles, Invertebrates, Topology & Physics

Would you like to see some photos from my programs?  Well, here you go!

"Bug Sucker-Upper" final instructions...then...
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Ladies and gents...go suck up your bugs! (Mark's pic)

Lightning just LOVES Halloween!
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Isn't he a pretty amelanistic corn snake?
Whodunit?
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Fingerprint under the videomicroscope.
Just a little patience and...
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You can have a great reward!

Examining freshwater invertebrates.
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Wonder when this cyclops' eggs will hatch?

I think sundials are very cool, don't you?
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Join my class, and maybe we'll make one!
First I ask my students..."Are you ready to work?"
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Then we make these awesome things!
My soda/water/juice-bottle spider habitat...
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Fascinating! Predator/Prey, Recycle/Reuse...

To learn about air pressure and Bernoulli's effect
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we built a very cool string blower thingy!

     

Dallas Park & Recreation/Science Safari
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Research & Demonstration Fair at CITY HALL!

Dallas Park & Recreation/Science Safari
Research & Demonstration Fair

In April, 2003, over 100 elementary students completely filled the Lobby at City Hall with Science!
 
We began the event with an experiment to determine the best bubble solution.  Imagine over 100 students blowing bubbles outside of City Hall!  It was fantastic.
 
After presenting 150 after-school science enrichment programs for the Dallas Park and Recreation Department at 16 different school/park sites, I wanted to bring it all together in a big way.
 
As a culminating event, I invited students who were in my programs to create science exhibits relating to something they found interesting during our times together.  The City provided the site, staff and transportation and we hosted more than 300 that night!  We even made the local 10:00 news!
 
The idea came from my friend, Lana, who noted that some students just want to research something, or build a model or demonstrate a principle without the restrictions necessary in the normal school Science Fair.  This event was intended to reinforce the learning, but "freestyle", and to augment the vision of a Science Fair.
 

My little non-native Niky

Niky, a kind of bird called a starling, was a 3-day-old hatchling April 25, 2001, her eyes not yet open, when a rehabber gave her to me.  I had to take her (and her food and eyedropper) with me everywhere I went: school assemblies and after-school programs I presented, on a creek walk, to my son's baseball games, out to eat and the movies! She went everywhere with me for her first six weeks, because she needed to eat her baby bird food every hour or so. 
 
Now she's all grown up!  She has at least 2 baths a day (in the bathtub!) and says, "Let's go upstairs and have a bath, Niky!"   She loves to play, starting the chase game by flying wildly at my head.  Then I chase her around the house.  When we're both tired, I'll pick her up, saying "OK.  I won't get you."  She responds by cuddling to my neck, and we both make her little orphan baby bird sounds!  It's lots of fun for both of us.
 
She loves Jacey so much.  She likes to just stare at her, making kissing sounds.  Jacey and I know Niky's song, too.  Sometimes, we three sing it together!  When we come home, Niky says, "Hi, Hi."  She says "Come 'ere, Come 'ere", "Step up", "Hi, hi, hi"  "Hi sweet Miss Nicky, Hi hi sweet Niky" plus lots more.
 
She can imitate every squeaking door in the house (and has scared the bejeebers out of my son (Mark, the great photographer) when he was home alone because he heard the garage door open!).  She imitates the sound of a good, strong nose blow and sings a long song that she created! 
 
Starlings are omnivores (eat fruits, veggies & meat), so, in addition to her regular diet, I catch insects and spiders for her every night.  She inspects my pockets greedily when I come back in, looking for the film cans I use to catch these critters.
 
She flies around the house during the day and sleeps in her cage at night.  She loves to help feed the fish in the aquarium.  She loves to sing along with music - she especially enjoys the beautiful music of Acoustic Eidolon!   She's very intelligent. 
 

My sweet little Niky
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She's a Starling!

Jacey and Niky in 2002
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Niky's having a sun bath.

Looking out the window from her tree perch.
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A pair of wild starlings lived near my house a few years ago.  They seemed to get a huge kick out of watching what happened when they imitated the squeak of our backyard gate.  Hearing the squeak, and thinking someone had opened the gate, our dogs would just about fly outside through the dog door.  The starlings seemed to enjoy the entertainment factor of tricking the dogs!  The same birds also imitated a cat's meow, which pretty much convinced my neighbor she was going crazy!
 
Did you know that the popular pet bird and well-known mimic, the mynah, is in the starling family?  Did you know that around 1895, a man who believed that all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works should live in America, released a few dozen mating pairs of these European natives in New York's Central Park? 
 
As a result, today there are millions of starlings all over North America, and they're taking over our native birds' habitats.  I've watched starlings wait for woodpeckers to finish their homes, then chase them away and take over the nests.  Not good!
 
  That's why it's important NEVER to release non-native plants or animals into the wild (like emptying your aquarium into the local stream, or catching tadpoles in one place and letting them go in a different place - they could be infested with parasites that are then released into a new habitat!)
 
Even though starlings are considered "pests", Jacey and I love Niky very, very much!
 
For more information about these amazing birds, search the Internet.  Try these words: starling, Mozart + starling, sturnus vulgaris
 

Hmmm...What kind of flower is this?
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If you notice its features, then check out a field guide...

TAXONOMY 
is the science of identification.  Things are classified by their features.

Aha! How very cool!
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WOW! She figured it out all by herself!

Lakewood Outdoor Learning Area

In 2003, I had the pleasure of seeing my idea become a reality!  With the help of many parents, teachers, students and members of the community, my proposal to Texas Parks & Wildlife came to fruition, and the Lakewood Outdoor Learning Area was built!  (We called it the LOLA, and guess what became my nickname?)

 
Additionally, I contracted with the school and its supporting entities to incorporate using LOLA into the curriculum. 
 
Altogether, I spent over 170 hours leading Lakewood students on 225 forty-five minute outdoor education hikes, sharing 2300 individual experiences with them. 
 
Each year, for four years, we ended our LOLA season by turning the school into the one-night Lakewood Museum of Natural History - the ONLY natural history museum whose curators and exhibitors were elementary students!

   

The LOLA is a beautiful place...
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...and so many folks came together to make it happen!

This is how to identify...
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POISON IVY!

The contractor thought I was crazy...
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Putting leaves in the concrete ON PURPOSE!

Examining a millipede...
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NOT a centipede. Learn the difference!

But Ms. Wooley's class loved...
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Making crayon rubbings of the leaves!

We found lots of funnel-web weavers
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all around the LOLA.

On our LOLA hikes, we noted our finds on the map.
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We used lots of measuring tools, too!

And we wrote down everything we noticed.
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These sheets and the maps are in the school library.

Ms. Cox and her student naturalists
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on the LOLA trail
We examined pond creatures in my"portable pond"
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and on TV using my videomicroscope!
The Lakewood Museum of Natural History Curators...
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Yelling: "LO---LA" with much GUSTO!
It was especially fun to RUN
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the LOLA trails!

She dragged her jesses right on top of my head...
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What a beautiful Red-Tailed Hawk!

How amazing: the science of forces.
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Using a gyroscope to learn about centripetal force.

A shocking good time!
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First-hand learning about static electricity

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs copyright Susan Campbell 2006, all rights reserved.