Keeping with our bird unit, it was now time to learn about the wonders of feathers.
We read & discussed the feather page in our Encyclopedia Britannica book.
This experiment came from The Rogers’ Family Circus and it’s fantastic. Fill one baggie with ice, another with feathers. First, place the baggie of ice on your hand & notice how cold it is. Now place the feathers on your skin & put the ice baggie on top. Notice that the ice doesn’t feel quite so cold anymore. This was a great way to really show my kids how important feathers are.
This also came from The Rogers Family Circus. I gave each of my boys a feather & asked them to get their feather wet using a spray bottle. They noticed how yucky the feathers became.
Next, we talked about preening. I explained that when a bird cleans itself, it is also adding a layer of protection to their feathers. They have a gland that secretes an oil-type fluid. They take this “oil” and spread it around their feathers. This “oil” waterproofs their feathers.
This time, the boys brushed olive oil (I think they may have applied a bit too much) on their new feathers. Now, when they sprayed their feather, the water beaded and ran off the feather. Another great hands on activity.
Farm Kid1 added a couple feather books to the duck pages in his notebook. I believe the books are from Homeschool Share.
What I loved most about these projects was how engaged my boys were. They already knew some things about feathers, which was fantastic because they were able to take part in our discussions. They also learned a few new things – like preening.