Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Corpse Flower

Psalm 96:11-12 "Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy."

Today (Tuesday) we got to experience something rare. We went to the Chicago Botanical Garden to see the rare Corpse Flower. I have been watching their website for almost a week following this flower. It was supposed to open up Friday or Saturday, but it never did. Scientists finally decided to cut the flower open so that they could manually pollinate the flower. The girls still wanted to go see the flower. They told me that they had been waiting for over a week and wanted to make sure they at least got a glimpse (in person) of this rare flower. Since this in only our second day of school, I wasn't sure we should mess up our schedule and take a field trip. They convinced me that they would get all of their work done early. Sometimes events like this are the best incentive ever! The girls took their work upstairs last night and finished their reading, math, and English. They woke up a little after 6am and by 7am, we were completing our wok that we do together. The most amazing thing happened 9:00am, we had completed almost all of our homework. Since I can't let a field trip go by without some form of "homework", I put together a worksheet for them to fill out while we walked around the garden. They had to write down ten of their favorite flowers/plants. They then had to draw five of these flowers. In addition, they had to draw a picture of "Spike"- the corpse flower and write some interesting information about the flower (where it is found, how long it takes to bloom, etc). We only lasted about two hours at the garden because it was so hot and humid out today. We finished up our field trip with a trip to Wendy's to get our free frosty from our Summer Reading Program.

Joella was hot and tired waiting around for her sisters to draw their flowers

Look at them working hard drawing their flowers!

Studying the map...where to go next?

The girls were super excited to see a Monarch butterfly on milkweed.

Corpse flower (minus the beautiful outside petals) - see how it is wilting? It was 68" at it's peak.

We learned that the plant has both female parts (the orange part) and male (white bumpy part right above the orange). The plant does not fertilize itself (vertical), but it cross pollinates. Interestingly, when the plant normally opens up on it's own, the petals open up and a horrible smell comes from the flower. It attracts pollinators (like dung beetles and flies) who enter the flower, have pollen dropped on them, and then move on to other flowers. It is quite fascinating to learn about creation! I was just telling Wayne the other day that when you look around our world and see what God created in just six days, think about what heaven is going to be like since He's been working on that for over 2,000 years!!

Sophia touching the petals of the flower that they cut off to expose the inside. It felt pretty neat, almost like a sponge. 

Sample of Sophia's worksheet from the field trip.

This is my new favorite tool for school. At times, my six kids can get so loud that it is hard to get their attention, especially if they are upstairs. I was tired of shouting up the stairs to be heard. I used an air horn last year to get their attention, but it died by the end of last school year. I was on Amazon looking for a replacement air horn when I came across this bad boy, which was only $3 more then the air horn. So far after using it for a day, I think every parent should own one. I think this was the best $16 I've ever spent!!!

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