Today at my in-law’s house a turtle was laying eggs at the end of the driveway.
I knew this was a great opportunity for doing science with my kids, but I didn’t have much of a thought for how to approach it. So I put the question to twitter, and got this awesome insight from Adam;
Adam Taylor (@2footgiraffe) June 14, 2014
This opened some doors. I did a quick internet search and found this article, which I skimmed, then this one, which was written in a language that my kids could better understand. We read the second article together. Particularly interesting was learning that for turtles, and apparently many reptiles, the sex of the hatchlings depends on the incubation temperature! The kids also liked that the baby turtles were going to be only an inch long and hatch in 9-18 weeks (likely longer in our northern climate, so probably in October; I hope to report back when that happens).
In reflection I realized that my kids wouldn’t have cared much if I had just read them the web page. The real-life event of watching the turtle laying the eggs motivated their curiosity about turtles in general.
Next we talked about how to protect the eggs since they are in a driveway, and Grandma Sue took over. She’s also going to take over the narration here to describe how she and the kids approached this task.
Unbeknownst to the turtle, she laid her eggs in the middle of our shared driveway. We started watching her at 6:30 AM and she did not leave her mission until 9:30 AM! My granddaughter did the subtraction (editor’s note: talking math with your kids!) and realized it was a 3 hour project! The kids and I decided that was way too much energy spent to let the neighbors run over the eggs with their cars…I suggested we could make some signs and tape them on chairs to put over the ‘egg nest’. They were all over it! They decided what message they wanted on their signs to keep the eggs safe and asked me how to spell the words, using permanent marker so the message would not be ruined in the rain.
We taped the signs to two chairs and set them over the nests. Challenge in this whole process..how do we keep chairs in the middle of the road for 9-18 weeks?!?!
All in all a great learning experience for the kids where they did some science, a bit of math, reading, and writing. Thank you turtle!