Sunday, November 18, 2012


Hello my dear readers! 

How is everyone this week? I am tired but happy with my new grandbaby and very thankful at how well my daughter is healing from her c-section delivery. Speaking of thankfulness, is everyone who lives in the USA ready for our uniquely American holiday? Those of you who live outside of the USA, I don’t know if you have similar holidays, but I hope and pray that you have had family gatherings of love, gratefulness and pure enjoyment.

In and amongst all the preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday, here is a little activity you can do with your kids:

Materials needed:

Plaster or a similar hardening agent (clay or even flour/salt).
Leaves (flowers)

1)      Take a walk with your kid(s), or even by yourself. Keep a look out for beautiful autumn leaves (or if you are in the southern hemisphere, spring flowers). Try to get several in different stages of decay (or budding). Collect two or more of each stage-all the way from a green leaf to one that looks like a fine net with only thin veins remaining throughout the leaf.

2)       Return home with your treasures and set the leaves or flowers aside in the same order of decay (or budding).
3)      Prepare plaster casting by adding just enough water to make the powder into a thick dough.
4)      You can either make an elongated rectangle or several smaller circles. While the clay is still moist make an impression of each of the different stages of leaves (flowers) by pressing firmly into the dough and gently lifting (parents, young children may need assistance in this part especially with the thinner leaves). Remove the leaf or flower. Don’t worry if small pieces of the leaf (or flower) stick to the dough, or if the leaf/flower becomes completely destroyed (hence the reason to collect more than one of each stage).
5)      Set aside the plaster to dry- it will take several hours.
6)      In the meantime, take the other set of leaves and mount with either tape or glue to a piece of paper or cardboard. If desired you can label the leaves by species, date of collection and advancement of decay, or anything else you desire.
7)      After the dough/clay is dry, take it down and study the impression along side of the mounted leaves.
8)      The next time you view fossils of leaves, you and your child will be able to compare the fossil impressions with your knew knowledge of leaf stages. Then you can discuss with your children all the potential reasons of why that particular fossil may have been in that stage of decay when it became buried and subsequently fossilized. Here’s some questions you can ask:
a.       What season was it when the leaf became fossilized?
b.      Could the leaf have decayed after it was buried?
c.       Does this one leaf reflect the true season of year it was when the leaf became fossilized, or was this just one leaf that had fallen from a summer tree and began to decay when it was buried.
May all of you have a most blessed Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday and God Bless you all!

This week in the night sky- by Thursday around 11:20 p.m. EST (8:20 p.m. PST) Jupiter's moon Io, will disappear barely beyond the planet's western edge into an eclipse by Jupiter's shadow. Also you will be able  to see Jupiter's Great Red Spot as it moves across the planet's central meridian around 10:16 p.m EST (7:16 pm PST).


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