Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Soaring Through Science-Based Art

After our first week of classes, I must say, my students are bringing a lot of artisitic talent and scientific curiosity to class!!

This week, Soar Through the Solar System found us orbiting the sun while rotating out in the Monroe parking lot, making a solar eclipse, creating solar flares, and discussing thermo-nuclear fusion as well as the Auroras.

Marine Marvels and Animal Kingdom students have been working on polishing their drawing skills and are ready to discuss habitat. This week we will design a marine or land animal in its natural habitat.

Last week's Botany class was full of color as we discussed the difference between vascular and non-vascular plants. We went outside and picked a variety of vascular plants (plants that have tubes to draw up nutrients and water through) and we looked at them under the microscope. Then we peered at a couple non-vascular plants, moss and lichen, under the same scope. We also made our own soap with various scents and textures for srubbing. Finally, we put carnations in colored water as an experiment.

Technology Treadmill students learned a lot about simple machines and using light and shading in their drawings.

What a great start to our semester and what tremendous students I am blessed to teach!!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Now that we are at the peak of the growing season in Fairbanks, a fun activity is to go around collecting flowers and pressing them for winter projects like card-making, and decorating homemade gifts such as candles. It's also a great time to take photographs of a variety of our native flowers, berries and all our neighbors beautiful flower beds and gardens!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We are headed down to Kenai, Alaska to catch our winter's supply of red salmon and halibut.
I will give a report of our adventures when we return!

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to keep your water in your bucket!

I was headed over to our corn & potato field to irrigate and fertilize the sweet corn. I was driving a 4-wheeler with a trailer full of 5 gallon buckets with no lids. My brother-in-law, Andy, shared a little secret with me. He said, "If you float a piece of wood in your water buckets you will find the water rarely splashes out of the bucket." I tried it and he's right!! When the waves slosh around they break on the piece of wood instead of the rim of the bucket. Thanks, Andy!!

Gardening Tip: Turnips

Did you know that if you plant turnips after the 4th of July, they will have little to no worms and still have enough time to grow before harvest time? My family loves to eat raw turnip as a snack and so do I but I like to boil the greens and add a little sea salt and apple cider vinegar.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

So, with regards to the baby lady bugs . . . My good friend, Kirsten, proclaimed, "Wait a minute, lady bugs don't have a "baby" stage! But these bugs look so much like ladybugs." I responded, "Maybe I'll call Cooperative Extension here in Fairbanks and ask them." I did call and met with the "insect lady", Diane. She said these "babies" are actually the nymph stage of the stink bug. Ladybugs are actually beetles and not bugs at all. So, naturally, we should all be calling them "lady beetles." Here's a neat link about stink bugs: When you click on this link you will see why we thought they were ladybeetles. Picture A really looks like a ladybeetle and the "babies" we found are bright red, just like the ladybeetle. We put a leaf under our microscope here at home and these insects look so amazing!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

URGENT MESSAGE!!! Right now is the best time to observe ladybug eggs, pupae, larvae and adults on the underside of birch leaves!! We found thousands of them tonight when I was exploring my neighborhood. You see, I have an aphid problem in my greenhouse so I thought, "Why buy ladybugs when I can take the kids out and capture them?" We hit the jackpot when Anna found the birch trees in front of Monroe infested with them in all four life stages! What a blessing!!

For a ladybug unit study, click on the following link:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our world's demand for beeswax far exceeds the supply. There are many uses for this blessed substance. It is used in cosmetics, furniture and wood polishes, archery, candle making, metal working and carpentry.

How do honeybees make wax? There are four pair of wax glands on the underside of the worker bee's abdomen. The wax is secreted from these glands. By digesting 8.4 pounds of sugars, pollens and nectars, the honeybee can produce one pound of wax. Different kinds of honeybee food influence the color of the wax. Beeswax colors range from translucent to a buttery-lemon color.
This special wax is indigestible for humans but rather, serves as a type of fiber to our systems. Eating beeswax is good for us! Some of the products within the beeswax are digestible such as the pollen and nectar it contains.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Honeybees gather tree sap and combine it with wax to make propolis. This glue-like substance is then used to strengthen the moving parts of the hive. In order to move the individual boxes or the honeycomb frames, beekeepers must use a hive tool to pry the sections apart. Some naturalists eat propolis as a form of antibiotic.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Queen Honeybees

Queen honeybees are only fertile in the first few days of their lives at which time they mate with up to 21 drones in order to carry enough fertilized eggs for their life time (up to 7 years). Queens then lay up to a couple thousand eggs in a day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Classes Starting!

Although all my classes are full for Fall of 2010, I am hoping to have some students on my wait list in the case that any of my students are not able to attend class this semester.
Also, I will start the same classes again in January.

Fairbanks, Alaska
Starting the week of August 23, 2010 through December 10, 2010
Tuition is $20.00 per two hour lesson
One semester commitment
Fifteen lessons per semester/one lesson per week
Four students per class/Five classes to choose from

Materials included
Contact Dawn at
Highschool Credit: 1/2 art credit per semester

Soar Through the Solar System:
Explore our universe beginning with the sun and traveling through the planets.
(This class is full for Fall of 2010)

Animal Kingdom:
Artistically capture a variety of animals in their various habitats.
(This class is full for Fall of 2010)

Marine Marvels:
Recreate the colorful ocean environment.
(This class is full for Fall of 2010)

Beautiful Botony:
Draw, paint and sculpt plants, trees and flowers in their various landscapes.
(This class is full for Fall of 2010)

Technology Treadmill:
(3rd - 8th grades) Focusing on perspective with special attention to machines and devices.
(This class is full for Fall of 2010)