skulls, wagons, lunch

We had a small group today – about half the kids went up to Point Reyes with their families for a Brightworks camping trip, and the rest of us did fun stuff at school! Henry and his dad made lunch, the Goats went on a bike ride with Josh, the two Flying Fish and a Ninja Cat went to the California Academy of Sciences with Mackenzie and I to learn about the animal skulls they found in yesterday’s owl pellets, and the remaining Ninja Cats worked on their own independent projects: a pioneer wagon and a Maker Bot.

Some photos from the day:

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Off to Point Reyes for camping!

birding

The Flying Fish took a long drive down to the Coyote Creek Field Station in Milpitas to visit with ornithologists and learn about how these scientists band birds for research.

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We walked along some unseen trails into the trees and saw the tall nets that the ornithologists use to catch birds.

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They only keep the nets up for five hours a day – from sunset to before noon.

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We were lucky enough to witness a bird caught in one of the soft, almost-invisible nets and watched as Josh, our guide, carefully disentangled the yellowthroat from the net.

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We felt the gentleness of the net and were assured that the birds came to no harm when caught.

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We walked back to the birding station for a little research!

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And a snack.

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The ornithologists didn’t put on a song and dance to keep the kids’ attention and didn’t dumb down the material.  Instead, they spoke to this group of six- and seven-year-olds with the same informative sincerity that they would talk to any group of adults.

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We learned that this yellowthroat had been banded when she had just hatched and had now returned to the same woods she was born in to lay her first brood.

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The Fish gave their rapt attention and insightful questions.  The ornithologists were charmed by their enthusiasm really impressed by their curiosity and respectfulness.

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Josh blew on the downy breast feathers to show us the brood patch, a patch of bare skin used to warm the eggs, and the fat stores she would use in creating the egg.

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We learned about the tracking system that the ornithologists use to track the birds, their ages, weights, sex, migration, and breeding habits.

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And when the data had been collected and the bird had been looked at, we watched as they fluttered back into the woods in triumph, thinking they’d escaped capture. It was a beautiful sight!

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outside, inside

We’re greening our space with a Woolley Pocket garden in the art studio and on a moving wall that will float around the building.

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The Ninja Cats brainstormed about their project for Expression. Their project is a dramatic theater production based on the spy story that the Cats have been working on and playing for several months.

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They practiced close observation by drawing their potential energy cars from the Motion arc so they could both remember the components of car building for the spy play and think up new ides for props for their production.

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Lili came in to share her knowledge about puppets of all shapes and sizes. The Ninja Cats are going to be making large puppets of gangsters for their play and needed some know-how and inspiration.

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After cutting out their cardboard puppets, they all did short performances behind a stage of chairs.

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The Undead Goats zipped over to Ocean Beach on their bikes for a day in the sun.

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Concrete walls beg to be jumped off.

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Catching air.

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Falling.

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shorebirds, improv, spies

All the bands continued to explore and experience the world of locomotion today… all in their own band way.

The Flying Fish headed out to the Charleston Slough near Mountain View to go on a bird walk and check out the shorebirds that live in the bay lands. They met guide Linda and she offered binoculars and spotting tips to the kids.

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The Undead Goats did improv, practicing their humor and listening skills, and talked about bikes while the Ninja Cats went with Elizabeth for drawing practice. They did a similar exploration as the Goats and Fish did on Tuesday.

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In the afternoon, after a day of talking about Expression projects and what comes next for the arc, the Cats went out to the library to look up books on spies, which is an interest all of the Cats are pursuing in play during park time and in writing during the school day.

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The librarian found dozens of spy books for them!

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birds, bikes, bart

Monday…

The Flying Fish invited the other bands into the Nest to share how to hold the four chicks: Ginger, Cinnamon, Twiddles, and Virginia.

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The Ninja Cats headed out into the world to bike ride in the streets – all the way to the Embarcadero and beyond!

Getting there.

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BART.

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There!

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Heading back.

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The Undead Goats made prints of bicycle parts in the afternoon.

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looking

While the Goats headed out on an eight-mile bike ride to the ocean and back…

The Fish discussed the next steps in the “naked egg” experiment that they’ve been conducting.

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The Ninja Cats had a discussion and wrote reflections on their experiences of the cable car, streetcar, and bus trips from yesterday.

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The Fish headed out to Glen Park Canyon with Melanie, Aidan’s mom, to track down a nest of owl eggs that have been rumored to be in the canyon.

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They examined a hand-drawn map to figure out where to go next.

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They stopped for lunch, and built their own bird’s nest out of bark and grass.

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When everyone got back to school at the end of the day, we moved the chick into its heated, food-and-water-filled home!

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air and wheels

The Brightworks kids explored on-wheels and in-the-air travel today.

The Undead Goats and the Ninja Cats took to the streets on their bikes…

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…while the Flying Fish headed out to Pacifica with Gever and Mackenzie to watch the paragliders and the way they fly so they could compare them to birds. They watched a video before they left that reviewed how birds use updrafts and thermals to glide with minimal energy output and let that knowledge guide their understanding of how paragliding works.

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Gever suited up and thrilled the Fish by leaping into the air.

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They explored the area and found a cave and a starfish – the highlights of their day.

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Happy birthday, Audrey!

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