"Groundhog in your hole so deep.
Lift your head and take a peek,
If your shadow makes you LEAP!
Curl back up and go to sleep!"
A funny name and an important task. Groundhog day marks the middle of winter. It is halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, a day assures us the light is returning soon. Some signify this turning point celebrating Candlemas, a day to gather the beeswax stubs of candles burned through darkest winter and with them create new ones. I can certainly feel the light returning and even the stirrings of spring...Robins sing and sunsets linger.
With this, we gain a whole new gratitude for winter in all its frozen beauty. Let us play with it while it is still in our grasp!
Finally back together after a restful winter break, teachers and students were so happy to be reunited. What better way to ring in semester 2 than with 2 amazing and huge hornets nests. Samantha brought one from her house, and Wyatt brought the other...what a coincidence!
We decided that Samantha's nest would be devoted to science. So she got to work with a pair of shears and we all waited to see what the inside looked like. We saw eggs, larvae, and many dead hornets. Samantha had done her research and learned that as soon as the first hard frost hits the queen leaves the nest and all of the remaining wasps die.
The first thing we noticed was the smell! Phew...we soon figured out that the source of the stink was probably the dead wasps and larvae left in the nest.
A bald faced hornet, killed by the frost.
A closer look....
With all the wintry weather we used our senses to observe and explore ice. Frozen water balloons created an egg like ball with a watery yolk inside that gave us a chance to feel and see the different stages of ice as it freezes. We compared these to the huge icicles on the chains of the green roof of the eco lodge. Samantha brought bubble wands and soap to create ice bubbles. While we were never successful in making an ice bubble, probably a bit too warm and windy, we noticed how cool it was to watch the solution freeze in the wand. One crystal formed and delicate icy film was spun across the ring.
The delicate crystals forming. Even a breath could break the "glass"!
We discovered a skating rink at the bottom of the sledding hill! The children became zambonies, clearing the snow from the smooth ice with their arms and legs.
Sliding around our rink was a lot of fun.
A very big universe, indeed.
At the end of the day we went on a walk about the land that we had been missing. We checked on the places that we planted our bulbs and dreamed of what it might look like when they finally bloom. Our last stop was to the bean teepee. Another reminder of what is soon to come.