Through out this month of January, I will be participating in a collaborative series with 53 other bloggers organized by Little Bins for Little Hands to bring you the A-Z of STEM subjects. While this A-Z STEM series is happening, we also still have our weekly STEM Saturday linky party! This week we’ll be talking about Ichnology.
Ichnology is the study of traces of organismal behavior, such as burrows and footprints. It combines geology and biology in a way that is technically a branch of paleontology, though it isn’t limited to prehistoric animals. One area of ichnology, paleoichnology, focuses on the study of prehistoric or fossil traces while another branch, neoichnology, focuses on more recent and modern day traces.
We often teach our children about ichnology without even realizing it. Have you ever built a worm farm with them? Or taught them how to spot animal tracks at the park? If so then you’ve been exposing them to ichnology.
For this activity I reused the coconut fiber and paint brushes from our Sorting Bones sensory bin. Other things that came in handy were some air dry clay, paper, paint, and our North American Wildlife TOOB. I love Safari LTD TOOBs; they have been used countless times in our sensory play and homeschool lessons to talk about animal anatomy, geography, food chains, evolution, etc..
First I lightly painted the bottom of each figurine’s feet and pressed them to the paper, labeling each paw/hoof print as I went in order to make a guide. I set this guide aside to dry.
Then I rolled out the clay and used a small cup to cut some disks. I pressed each animal figurine’s feet into the clay disks.
Once the paint had dried on the guide, I put it inside of the plastic sign holder (the same one I used to create our apartment friendly window easel).
I then arranged all the objects inside the coconut fiber sensory bin: the clay disks, the animal figurines, the paint brushes, and the guide inside the plastic sign holder.
LittleMan observed the differences between the feet of each animal. He matched the animals to their footprints in the clay disks.
He buried the disks and then used paint brushes to carefully uncover them like a paleontologist would.
He matched the animals to the footprints on the guide.
He walked the animal figurines through the coconut fiber and made observations about the footprints they left along the way.
To see the rest of the A-Z STEM series, be sure to check out Little Bins for Little Hands.
Check out what my STEM Saturday Co-Hosts are up to this week!
Hands-on Solar System for Preschoolers from Stir the Wonder
Does Snow Sink or Float from Lemon Lime Adventures
Magnetic Ice Science Sensory from Little Bins for Little Hands
QR Codes for Kids | An Introduction to Technology from The Science Kiddo
For more hands-on STEM exploration check out our STEM Saturday Pinterest Board!
Follow Sarah McClelland’s board Science Experiments for Kids on Pinterest.
Link up your STEM projects below!