Mindful Mondays: Do Animals Feel Emotion?

Written by Willow Sedam, Animal Husbandry Staff

Mindful Mondays: Do Animals Feel Emotion?

Throughout history, humans have been asking questions about the natural world. But there’s one we keep coming back to with endless curiosity: do animals feel?

The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was an early ponderer of this very question. A vegetarian, Pythagoras believed that animals and humans had the same souls, and should be treated equally. He was even known for going into markets and purchasing live animals, only to set them free. But Pythagoras’s ideas were controversial – the later philosopher Aristotle created his own theory, a ranked view of nature that put humans at the top and the lesser, “irrational” animals below them. For Aristotle, and many thinkers who followed in his footsteps, the idea of animals having souls or feeling pain, let alone emotion, was a strange one.

 

But is it really that odd to imagine that animals might feel emotions like we do?

 

After all, it’s not hard to find instances of animal behavior that appear to be driven by emotion. Take your dog to the vet or start up the vacuum cleaner around him, and you’ll see a response that looks a lot like anxiety, fear, or even anger. If animals appear to feel negative emotions, couldn’t they feel positive ones as well? Might they feel a similarly wide range of emotions to ours?

Elephants and whales have both been observed behaving unusually around dead herd members, guarding the bodies of fallen friends for days, or carrying deceased calves with them for miles. And great apes have even been able to communicate their own emotions to researchers. Koko, a gorilla who had been taught sign language, responded “Bad, sad, bad, frown, cry, frown, sad, trouble” when learning her adopted kitten had died.

Koko with her kitten, photo from the Los Angeles Times

 

It’s no surprise that these animals – some of the smartest in the world – would be able to feel; but it’s not just the big-brained mammals like us who display signs of emotion.

 

Parrots and crows are exceptionally bright birds, and their intelligence seems to extend to the complexity of their emotional lives as well. Crows have been known to form bonds with humans who feed them, and grudges against those they don’t like. They will even bring gifts to humans they like, and teach other crows to attack those they don’t. And parrots can get so bored in captivity that, without anything to occupy their clever brains, they will develop compulsive behaviors similar to neurosis in humans, such as plucking out their own feathers.

Some fish have even been observed to exhibit individual personalities. In a study where new and possibly dangerous things were introduced to a school of fish, some fish would approach aggressively, some curiously, and some would simply hide. Each new item saw the same fish approaching in the same manor – the aggressive one continued to act aggressively, the shy one continued to act shy. Each fish had their own unique temperament!

And let’s not forget invertebrates – those animals without a backbone like insects, worms, and squids. You might not think them very smart or emotionally deep, but you would be doing them a great disservice. Octopuses are renowned for their intelligence, despite their short and solitary lifestyle. Captive octopuses enjoy playing with humans – and will attack ones they don’t like. They’re smart enough to get bored, and smart enough to escape their tanks looking for something more interesting. That’s a lot of complexity for an animal so closely related to slugs.

 

So, problem solved: animals do feel, and they feel quite a lot! …Right?

 

Unfortunately, the scientific jury is still out in this case. While there are plenty of behaviors that we observe in animals that might look like what we think of as emotions, we can’t exactly ask a lizard how it’s feeling. So, we rely on assumptions – assumptions that could be wrong.

The biggest problem we face when trying to answer these questions about animal emotions is called anthropomorphism, the action of projecting human traits onto animals, plants, or even inanimate objects. It’s a bit like seeing faces in clouds – they’re not really there, but we’re so used to looking for them that we conjure them up anyway. While an action or expression might mean one thing to a human, it could mean something completely different to another animal. While humans smile when happy, chimpanzees bare their teeth as a threat display. And while a dog wagging its tail may be excited or happy, a cat wagging its tail is definitely not. It’s easy to misread these behaviors and displays, and easier still to project a human idea of an emotion onto an animal who may experience the world in a vastly different way from us.

 

But just as it is important not to project our own emotions onto animals and their behavior, it’s important, too, to not assume that animals are mindless or emotionless drones. It’s tempting to think that animals experience less than we do – that they don’t feel pain, sorrow, or joy. But nature has proven time and time again that intelligence and emotion come in all shapes and sizes. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to be kind – to your human and non-human neighbors.

 

To stay informed on the latest Mental Health: Mind Matters programs and experiences, visit the Mind Matters webpage and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your experiences when you visit the museum to help us #MakeItOk. 

We look forward to welcoming you to FCMoD to experience this amazing exhibit!  

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Mindful Mondays: Animal Enrichment

Written by Willow Sedam, Animal Husbandry Staff

Mindful Mondays: Animal Enrichment

Just like us, animals can get bored. Have you ever been bored stuck inside on a rainy day? Imagine if you lived your entire life in your house –  many animals kept in captivity in zoos, aquariums, and even our own homes do spend their whole lives in one place. And without proper enrichment, animals can get bored quickly!

 

So, what is enrichment?

Behavioral, or environmental, enrichment, is anything that makes an animal’s life more interesting! It could be training a dog to sit and stay, or giving an octopus a complex puzzle to solve. It can be rearranging an animal’s cage for a change of scenery, or introducing new and exciting sounds or scents to them.

 

At the museum, we have our own animals – from black-footed ferrets to tree frogs – who all need enrichment. But enrichment comes in all different shapes and sizes!

Our colony of domesticated fancy rats are smart, omnivorous foragers, and need lots to do to keep their brains working. One day, they might get a new toy or a hiding place like a tunnel or wicker ball in their enclosure. The next, they might get peanuts hidden inside of cardboard tubes that they have to sniff out and chew open to get to. One of the keys to enrichment is variability – if an animal gets the same kind of enrichment at the same time every day or week, the novelty can wear off. Switching up enrichment styles and schedules is as important as the enrichment itself!

 

But enrichment isn’t one size fits all. Every animal is different, and so are the things we give them to keep them interested and excited.

 

The museum’s ornate box turtle, Tara, isn’t very good at sniffing out treats or chewing open cardboard boxes, so her enrichment takes a different form. She gets walks – inside the museum when the weather is cold, and out in the big backyard when it’s warmer. She loves her walks, and spends her outdoors time digging, hunting ants, and finding rocks to carry around in her beak. And even Tara likes treats – though instead of peanuts, she gets mealworms, which she chases down and gobbles up! To figure out what kind of enrichment an animal needs, we have to think about what our animals would be doing in the wild; Tara is actually a Colorado native, so spending time foraging in the Big Backyard is the perfect enrichment activity for her.

But what happens when animals don’t get the enrichment they need? Like us, bored animals can become frustrated, restless, or even depressed. They can get lethargic and low-energy, pick fights with other animals in the same cage, or pace the same path over and over again. Enrichment is important for animals of all shapes and sizes, from lions and tigers to little turtles like Tara.

 

Want to try giving your pet enrichment? There are lots of different ways to, and you might already be doing it without realizing! Training your dog to sit and stay, or playing catch-the-string with your cat are some easy ways to get your pet’s mind and body active. You could also introduce your pets to new (pet-safe) foods, or interesting and novel scents. Or, rearrange their cage, move their bed, and hide their toys in new places around the house. You can even make your own puzzle feeder: take a shallow box, cut holes of various sizes in the top, and sprinkle in some treats. See how your pet thinks through the problem to get to its prize – does it fish the treats out with a paw, shake the box until they fall out, or tear it open to get to the food?

There are tons of different fun enrichment projects you and your pet can work on together – so next time you’re feeling bored, consider designing a new toy for your furry (or slimy, scaly, or feathered) friend. You just might discover that it’s just as enriching for you as it is for them!

 

 

To stay informed on the latest Mental Health: Mind Matters programs and experiences, visit the Mind Matters webpage and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your experiences when you visit the museum to help us #MakeItOk. 

We look forward to welcoming you to FCMoD to experience this amazing exhibit!  

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Daily Discovery: Optical Illusions & Color Vision

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Optical Illusions & Color Vision

Is your brain playing tricks on you? Optical Illusions can use color, light and patterns to create images that can be deceptive or misleading to our brains. The information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain, creating an interpretation or reality, and may not match the true image. Our brains are slow, well only by one-tenth of a second, but in that time it computes, translates, reacts and process information.

Perception refers to the interpretation of what we take in through our eyes. Optical illusions occur because our brain is trying to interpret what we see and make sense of the world around us. Optical illusions simply trick our brains into seeing things which may or may not be real.

See if your brain believes your eyes with some optical illusions below. Learn how they are perceived by your eyes and interpreted by your brain!

Face Recognition

From a young age, our brains are trained to recognize and remember faces. Infants smile and react when they see a face they recognize more than a strangers face. We are able to recognize friends and family in a crowded room, and identify the sex of an individual based on slight facial features. Our “face sense” ability relies on the neurons within the fusiform gyrus in the brain.  Injury to this area can cause face blindness which prevents an individual from recognizing close relatives, or even themselves in the mirror. Location of the Fusiform Gyrusin the Brain; Labroots.

Our brains are also tricked when two faces are displayed to us at the same time. Our eyes see two face shapes, but our brain struggles to perceive them separately and will morph them together. See for yourself with this celebrity face morph experiment.

Color Illusions

Our eyes do much more than observe our surroundings, they also allows us to see those surroundings in color! The photoreceptors, respond to light, dark and color wavelengths. The rods are sensitive to changes in light and dark environment and are used more often at night. Cones are sensitive to bright light color wavelengths and are used mainly during the day. There are three different types of cones which are receptive to red, green, and blue light. The colors we see are perceived when the cells within the cones fire together sending messages to the brain for interpretation.

Just like the muscles in our body, the cone receptors can become fatigued when you stare at a color for a long period of time. The cone becomes less sensitive to that color of light and when you look away other the colors opposite on the color wheel are what we briefly see.

On a contemporary color wheel, the colors opposite orange and green are red and blue, allowing you to see the flag in it’s red, white and blue fashion!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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Daily Discovery: “On One Flower” Paper Flower Craft/Descubrimiento en casa: “Sobre Una Flor:” Flor de papel

Post written by Sierra Tamkun, Learning Experiences Manager.

Daily Discovery: On One Flower Paper Flower Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: On One Flower. Then, make your very own paper flower garden!

Supplies:

• Paper cupcake liners
• Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
• Blue and green construction paper
• Glue
• Assorted craft supplies:

  • Beads
  • Chenille stems
  • Bits of colored paper

Instructions:

1. Choose 3-4 cupcake liners to be your flowers. Color the liners to make your flowers brighter!

2. Using scissors, cut lines along the edges of your cupcake liners to make flower petals.

3. Glue your flowers onto the blue construction paper.

4. Cut stems and leaves out of the green construction paper and glue them to your blue paper sheet. If you don’t have green paper, you can draw your flower stems and leaves!

5. Decorate the center of your flower with different beads, chenille stems, or pieces of paper.

6. Draw some bugs and butterflies around your paper flower garden!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Image credit: onelittleproject.com

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Sobre Una Flor – Flor de papel

Sigue nuestro programa de transmisión en vivo “Cuentos en Casa” (Storytime in the Home) a través de las redes sociales. En esta ocasión te presentamos la historia llamada “Sobre una Flor” (versión en inglés). Después, ¡construye tu propio jardín de flores!

Artículos necesarios:

  • Marcadores, crayones o lápices de colores
  • Papel de colores incluyendo verde
  • Pegamento
  • Tijeras
  • Materiales para decorar: abalorios, brillantina, retazos de papel, etc.

Instrucciones:

  1. Para formar los pétalos de la flor, usa papel de colores y con las tijeras corta unas formas como la fotografía de arriba.
  2. Une tus pétalos con pegamento.
  3. Usando el papel verde, corta tallos y hojas para tus flores y pégalos debajo de la flor. Si no tienes papel verde, dibújalos y coloréalos.
  4. Decora el centro de las flores con abalorios, brillantina, retazos de papel o lo que quieras.
  5. Dibuja algunos insectos o mariposas para tu jardín.
  6. ¡Llena tu casa de alegría decorándola con tus flores coloridas!

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Buell Foundation. Their support helps make access to early childhood education at FCMoD possible for everyone in our community.

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It’s National Pollinator Week! 🐝

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

🐝It’s National Pollinator Week!

June 22-28, 2020, is the 13th annual National Pollinator Week!

What Are Pollinators?

Pollinators are animals that move pollen from one flower to another flower of the same species in the first step toward the plant reproducing. While pollinators are primarily insects (bees, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies), there are also some birds and small mammals that pollinate plants too.

More than 70% — and possibly as much as 90%! — of flowering plants are dependent on pollination for creating seeds and fruit. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food you eat was made possible by animal pollinators!

Many of the animals that pollinate are in decline. Pollinator habitats are shrinking or getting destroyed so they have no space to live or feed. In addition, overuse of pesticides, environmental pollution, and climate change are all adding risks to these animals.

Pollinators in Colorado

In Colorado, we have a wide range of habitats and extreme changes in altitude – different bees will thrive in each area. Because of that variety of habitat, Colorado is home to more than 900 species of bees! There are more than 200 bees in Larimer County alone. The smallest bee in Colorado is the Miner Bee (Perdita salacis) at 3.5mm/0.1in; the largest is the Nevada Bumblebee (Bombus nevadensis) at 26.5mm/1in. Colorado bees are colorful, too! Different species may be the usual yellow and black, or range to red, orange, green, blue, or brown.

Most bees in Colorado (and the rest of the world too) are solitary bees that don’t live in a colony like the familiar honeybee. Most of these solitary bees are ground nesters, digging burrows in the soil or using abandoned rodent burrows. Some of the bees here are cavity nesters, finding holes or cavities in twigs or logs.

In Colorado, bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of the crops in our state.

In addition to bees, other pollinators in Colorado include approximately 250 species of butterfly and more than 1,000 species of moth. There are also 11 species of hummingbird that migrate through the state from April through September.

How can you help pollinators?

Learn more about the pollinators in the space where you live. Spend some time outside and observe the animals that are visiting your garden. What kinds of animals do you see? What colors are they? How do they behave as they visit flowers?

Create good habitats for pollinators around your home. Whether you have acres of land or just a window box, you can help pollinators by offering them food and shelter. Plant a variety of flowering plants (preferably native – CSU has a great example list of native plants for pollinators) that offer food and nesting space. Provide several different kinds of blooming plants near each other, and use plants that have different bloom times, so that flowers are available to pollinators from early spring through late fall. Plant in sunny locations that are protected from the wind.

Don’t “clean up” your yard in the fall. Leave all the dormant or dead plants alone rather than trimming them back for the winter season — cavity nesting bees and other pollinating insects will use them as a safe home during the cold weather. Leave some leaf litter around for butterflies and moths to use as insulation over the winter, rather than raking it all up and dumping it in the landfill. If you can include materials in your yard such as logs or wood nesting blocks, you provide space for species that nest in wood to survive the snow. Leave some of the ground uncovered (i.e. don’t put mulch everywhere) for the native bees that nest in the bare dirt for the winter.

Reduce use of chemicals for controlling weeds and pests, as these can hurt or kill beneficial pollinators as well.

Protect natural habitat.

 Share what you know. Talk to your friends and family about what you have learned about pollinators and how and why you are helping them. Talk to your local and state government about how important it is to protect pollinators.

 

 

 

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The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

When most people hear about pollination, the first thing they think of is the honeybee.

The oldest bee that scientists have found so far was in Myanmar, encased in amber and dated at 100 million years old! Bees that old were hunters, eating other insects. At some point they started visiting flowers for nectar and pollen, changing into the honeybees that we know and love.

Honeybee colonies have been kept in man-made hives since Ancient Egypt and have been important throughout human history. In addition to being delicious as a sweetener in food, honey can be used to make mead (an alcoholic drink), which works as an antiseptic. It has even been used to embalm mummies! Beeswax can be used in making many products, such as candles, soap, cosmetics, and waterproofing. Honey and bees are so important that people have named their children after bees. Deborah and Melissa both mean “bee” in different languages; Pamela derives from a word for “honey”.

When Europeans colonized the Americas in the 17th century, there were no native honeybees. Native Americans tribes at the time kept and traded other kinds of bees. European settlers brought the Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) along with their familiar crop plants when they moved to the Americas. As we have expanded across the planet, humans have deliberately expanded the range of the Western Honey Bee, and it is now found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.

Healthy Honeybee Colonies

In a healthy honeybee colony, you can see thousands of individual bees. Most of what you see are the worker bees, which are females that cannot lay eggs. There are usually 10,000-50,000 workers per colony. The workers care for the queen and young, defend the hive with their stingers, build comb for the young honeybees and the honey, and collect food. There are also drones, which are the male honeybees. There are about 1,000 drones in a given colony. Drones have no sting, do not forage for food, and cannot defend the hive. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen. There is only one queen bee in the colony. She is larger than all the other bees, and usually has a circle of worker bees around her (her “court”) that take care of her, bringing her food and cleaning her. The queen is the only individual who can lay eggs, and can lay as many as 2,000 eggs per day!

The worker bees leave the hive and may fly up to two miles away from their home to find food. They seek out flowers and collect nectar, which is a sugary solution that flowers produce in order to attract pollinators. The worker bee then returns to the hive and performs a dance to indicate to her fellow workers where she found food. The collected nectar is transformed into honey and may be consumed by any of the adult bees or fed to the young who cannot yet fly to find their own food. The honey can also be harvested by humans.

Honeybee colonies normally survive for several years, going dormant in the winter cold and then becoming active in the warmer months. During favorable conditions (an abundance of food), the hive will create “daughter queens,” and the old queen and much of her colony will relocate to make room for the new queens.

What is happening with the FCMoD colony?

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery has had a bee colony in the Animal Encounters exhibit for our visitors to watch and enjoy since the exhibit opened. However, our colony has collapsed several times since then. Each time we have obtained a new colony from our professional beekeeper.

There are a lot of environmental factors that can negatively affect a honeybee colony, and a lot of colonies around the world are struggling and collapsing right now. There are some pesticides that are worse for bees, especially the class of pesticide called neonicotinoids. There are diseases and parasites that can affect a colony. Climate change may also be playing a factor with bee colonies dying.

What our beekeeper thinks may be happening to the honeybee colony here at FCMoD is that the bees may have found a flower source in the area that has been sprayed with a certain kind of pesticide. They collect the nectar and pesticide, then carry it back to the colony and tell their sisters where to find more. The bees eat the poisoned nectar and honey, and die.

How can we stop honeybee colony collapse?

There are a lot of different pesticides that people use to control weeds and to get rid of bugs they don’t like. But since we do like the honeybees and the honey they make, we need to make sure that we use pesticides that won’t hurt the bees. Pesticide application can be done at night when bees are not foraging. Additionally, making sure not to apply pesticides to blooming plants will help prevent bee deaths.

Like all animals, bees need good quality and abundant food. We can plant native flowers at our homes so honeybees and all the native Colorado bees have healthy and nutritious food sources.

We should also look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment around us, improving the lives of all animals that we share our environment with. Find reusable products instead of single use items you throw away. Turn off the lights in empty rooms. Compost. Take shorter showers. Each of us can have a huge positive impact on the wild animals that live around us.

Learn more about how pesticides can affect bees and other wildlife:

EPA Tips for Reducing Pesticide Impacts on Wildlife

National Pesticide Information Center: Protecting Wildlife from Pesticides

Learn about native plants you can use in your garden:

Colorado Native Plant Society plant lists

Find out how to reduce your impact on the environment:

World Wildlife Fund’s Tips for Reducing Your Environmental Impact

Can you spot the queen bee in this picture? She is larger and a slightly different color.

The FCMoD honeybee colony, in Spring of 2018.

Photos courtesy of Alexa Leinaweaver

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Daily Discovery: Celebrate our State Fossil- Build Your Own Stegosaurus/ Descubrimiento en casa: Celebrando el fósil oficial de Colorado – Crea tu propio estegosaurio

Post written by Angela Kettle, School Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Celebrate our State Fossil – Build Your Own Stegosaurus

Did you know that the Stegosaurus was named Colorado’s state fossil in 1982? Build your very own Stegosaurus using household materials. Then, discover a little bit about how the Stegosaurus lived!

Supplies:

All supplies are optional. Use what you have!

• Air dry clay or play-doh for the Stegosaurus body
• Cardboard or paper plates for the Stegosaurus plates
• Construction paper for the Stegosaurus spikes
• Glue or tape
• Markers
• Paint

Instructions:

1. Build your Stegosaurus! Be innovative with your materials, and use the graphic to help guide you! Here is one way you could build your stegosaurus:

  • Did you know that the Stegosaurus was around 21 feet long and 30 feet tall in real life? Since we’ll be making a model in this activity – or a smaller version of the original — decide how big you want your Stegosaurus to be for this purpose.
  • Use play-doh to make the body. The Stegosaurus is known to have a small skull, short upper limbs, broad feet, and a  relatively long tail.
  • Use the cardboard to make the Stegosaurus’s plates. The plates are mostly triangular. Press these cardboard plates into the Stegosaurus body in an alternating pattern. (Fun fact: did you
    know that no two plates from the same Stegosaurus are  identical?)
  • Cut down your construction paper. Use the pieces to make 4 spikes. Press these spikes into the Stegosaurus tail.
  • Paint or color your Stegosaurus if desired.

2. Behold your 3D Stegosaurus creation!

Questions to Ponder:

1. How might a Stegosaurus use its plates? What about its spikes?Why do you think?

2. Stegosauruses have very small, flat teeth. What other animals have flat teeth? What do you think Stegosaurus was eating based on its teeth?

3. Study the picture of the Stegosaurus, along with your 3D creation. Based on its anatomy (how it is structured), how do you think a Stegosaurus would look when it moved?

4. Research your answers here.

References and Additional Information:

Povid, K. (n.d.). A Stegosaurus brought to life. Natural History Museum. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/stegosaurus-brought-to-life.html

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Stegosaurus. In Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Stegosaurus

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Celebrando el fósil oficial de Colorado – Crea tu propio estegosaurio

¿Sabías que el estegosaurio fue nombrado el fósil oficial del estado de Colorado en el año de 1982? Crea tu propio estegosaurio utilizando materiales que ya tienes en casa, y ¡descubre un poco más sobre cómo vivió este dinosaurio asombroso!

Artículos necesarios:

Todos estos materiales son opcionales. Puedes usar lo que tengas disponible en casa.
• Arcilla o plastilina (para el cuerpo de estegosaurio)
• Cartulina o platos desechables/de papel (para las placas)
• Papel de colores (para las púas)
• Pegamento y/o cinta adhesiva
• Marcadores
• Pinturas

Instrucciones:

1. ¡Construye tu estegosaurio! Sé innovador/a con tus materiales y utiliza la imagen a continuación como guía. Sigue estos pasos para construir este dinosaurio único:

  • ¿Sabías que el estegosaurio medía 6.2 metros (21 pies) de largo y 9.1 metros (30 pies) de alto? Para esta actividad, tú decide el tamaño que quieras. Tu dinosaurio puede ser pequeño, mediano o muy grande.
  • Una opción es utilizar arcilla o plastilina para moldear el cuerpo del estegosaurio. Esta creatura es conocida por su cráneo pequeño, extremidades delanteras muy cortas, patas anchas, y una cola larga y rígida.
  • Utiliza la cartulina o platos desechables para formar las placas. Estas son mayormente triangulares. Presiónalas contra el cuerpo de tu estegosaurio en dos hileras. Dato curioso: ¿sabías que ningunas de las placas de un estegosaurio eran idénticas una de la otra? ¡Todas eran diferentes!
  • Corta tu papel de colores en formas puntiagudas para hacer cuatro púas, y presiónalas contra la cola de tu estegosaurio.
  • Si quieres, pinta o colorea tu modelo. Como mencionamos antes, todavía no se sabe de qué color eran estos grandiosos animales, así que puedes pintarlo y decorarlo con tus colores favoritos y de la manera que quieras.

2. Cuando esté completamente terminado, ¡admira tu propio modelo de estegosaurio en tercera dimensión hecho por ti mismo y muéstraselo a tu familia!

Y hablando de estos dinosaurios, ¿puedes contestar a estas preguntas?

1. ¿Para qué crees que un estegosaurio usaría sus placas? ¿Y sus púas? ¿Para qué servirían?

2. Los estegosaurios tenían dientes relativamente pequeños con facetas planas. Basándonos en la estructura de sus dientes, ¿qué crees que este dinosaurio comía? ¿Hoy día, cuáles otros animales tienen sus dientes así?

3. Estudia la imagen del estegosaurio que está más arriba, y también tu propio modelo. Observando su anatomía (su cuerpo/estructura) ¿cómo crees que estos animales se movían?

4. Investiga tus respuestas aquí (enlace en inglés para el National History Museum): https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/stegosaurus-brought-to-life.html

Referencias y más información:

Povid, K. (n.d.). A Stegosaurus brought to life. Natural History Museum. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/stegosaurus-brought-to-life.html

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Stegosaurus. In Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Stegosaurus

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

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Daily Discovery: “Three Lost Seeds” Seed Pod Stamps Craft

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Three Lost Seeds Seed Pod Stamps Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: Three Lost Seeds. Then gather your supplies to make your very own nature inspired seed pod stamps!

Supplies:

• Colored paper
• Modelling Clay
• A pencil
• A plastic knife
• White paint
• A paper plate
• Optional: Paint brush

Instructions:

1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to work.

2. Cut a small piece of clay off with a knife. Using your fingers, pinch part of the clay into a small handle and then press the clay flat on a surface to make the flat stamp end.

3. Images of seed pods can help inspire your seed pod stamp design.

4. Using a pencil or knife, shape the stamp to look like your seed pod.

5. Dip the stamper in the paint and press it on a piece of paper. Tip: Too much paint will look globby. Try brushing the paint on with a paint brush if you want a smoother stamp.

6. Use your stamp to make beautiful seed pod art! You can also make other nature inspired stamps with your clay. Have fun and be creative!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Image credit: redtedart.com

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Buell Foundation. Their support helps make access to early childhood education at FCMoD possible for everyone in our community.

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Daily Discovery: “If You Love Honey” Bee Headband Craft

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Storytime in the Home – If You Love Honey  Bee Headband Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: If You Love Honey: Nature’s Connections. Then gather all your supplies to create this adorable honeybee headband. Buzz Buzz!

Supplies:

  • Yellow and Black craft paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch

Instructions:

  1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to create.
  2. Cut a long strip of yellow craft paper.
  3. Cut a second strip of black craft paper and cut that into small bee stripes.
  4. Glue the black bee stripes to the yellow strip of craft paper leaving some yellow bits in between.
  5. Punch a hole in the ends of the strip and thread the yarn through to use as a tie.
  6. Curl one end of each pipe cleaner to make a small ball.
  7. Tape the pipe cleaners to the inside of the headband where you want each antenna to go.
  8. Tie your headband on and do a honeybee dance! BUZZZZZzzzz!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

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Daily Discovery: Agriculture in Action!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Agriculture in Action!

Agriculture and farming have a long history in Fort Collins and all over the globe. Most of the time we only see the end product, the fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. With this activity, see what happens under the dirt through experimentation with the scientific method!

Follow along through Facebook and Instagram with museum educator Hannah as she demonstrates this experiment in her own home. Happy Farming!

Supplies:

General:

  • Water
  • Indoor space with sunlight
  • Sharpie or marker
  • Paper and pencil to record daily observations
  • Potting soil and planter (optional)

Growing Produce from seeds:

  • Seeds (dried beans, flower seeds, other fruit or vegetable seeds)
  • Baking tray or cutting board
  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Ziploc bags

Re-Growing Produce from Kitchen Scraps:

  • Kitchen scraps (celery base, lettuce heart, green onion base, yellow onion top)
  • Small bowls or containers
  • Sharp kitchen knife and adult supervision

Instructions:

For ages 3-5:

  1. Review what plants and flowers need to grow and walk through the stages of plant growth.
  2. The Ziploc bag method can be easily monitored and observed, but we recommend setting up a method together that works best for your household. See procedures below.
  3. Ask your young scientist what they think will happen to the produce or seeds? Talk about different plants they have seen and discuss how they grow or where their favorite fruits and vegetables come from.
  4. Observe and talk about what is happening to your produce or seeds every day.

For ages 6 and up:

  1. Review what plants and flowers need to grow and walk through the stages of plant growth.
  2. Work through the scientific process before proceeding with the experiment. Decide on an experiment you want to test.
  3. Write down your answers for the scientific process and create your method for observation.
  4. Depending on your growing method, follow the procedures below.
  5. Record your observations every day in an observational chart, farming journal or a photo archive. As your produce grows you can look back on previous days, predict what will happen next and share with family and friends!
  6.  Follow along with Hannah as she tests her experiment in her home.

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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