23 February 2009

Darwin Day

Sheesh! Can someone tell me what happened to February? I have been dithering from thing to thing, rarely finishing things before getting distracted by something else. Plus, a few days of deceptively spring-like weather has made us even squirrelier about enduring the snow and cold! So I have a couple of blog items to get caught up on. Here's the first.

For those of you not in the know, Charles Darwin's 200th birthday was the 12th of February (as was Abe Lincoln's...quite the auspicious day back in 1809!). As Kitty Daddy has been on a bit of a evolution kick lately (elbow deep in Stephen Jay Gould and we have been getting the videos from the PBS Evolution series out from the library), we were unnaturally excite about Darwin's birthday! First off, the weekend before, we went to a Darwin Day up at the University. They had tables set up with displays and activities for all ages. At some of the tables, we collected stamps on our tree of life leaflet to win a prize (a shark tooth fossil for each kid). One table that caught my eye was the Wisconsin Fast Plants. The guy who developed these bred them for a rapid life cycle, for use in educational settings. They can be used for activities at most any age level. For small fries, they can watch the life cycle unfold, learn about pollination, and harvest seeds. For bigger kids, they can change environmental factors and observe changes. For even bigger folks, there are different varieties of seeds available (fuzzy stem, purple stem, yellow-green leaves, taller species, etc.) so there can be experiments with breeding and genetics. We ordered some seeds and have been getting ready to grow some. I may or may not post some of our progress here, but for excruciating details, you can find them here.

For the actual day of Darwin's birthday, we made fossil cookies for Daddy. When I was growing up, I remember having made cookies with ceramic stamps, so I had my mom send a couple of the recipes that came with the cookie stamps and we used some of the kids' dinosaur toys to make our "fossils." Before baking:

and after:


Namma said...

The cookies looked good...I'm only hoping that they weren't as hard as fossils! ;o)

I'll be anxiously awaiting to hear progress (and results) on your light box and Fast Plants project.

Marianne said...

Such cool and great activities you all get up to! Love the fossil cookies!

MollyBeees said...

You are the coolest Mom EVER! Will you adopt me?

Knittymama said...

Oooh, I know some little boys who would go nuts for fossil cookies. Great idea!!

Cindy H said...

That is such a great idea for kids! To take their toys and use them as a stamp! I wish I had thought of that when my kids were young! I hope it doesn't put us out of business, though! :o)

Cindy H
Cookie Stamps

Elizabeth said...

Awesome cookie idea!

dale-harriet said...

ME TOO ME TOO! Little Mollylbee needs a big sisser...oh. No, wait. How about - an extra Gramma? "But seriously, folks" -- I do SO admire you, Jen. Knowing that there are children like yours around lets me sit back, put my feet up and knit, because this ol' world's going to be just fine. (You and I would've been bestest BESTEST friends, when my three were little......)