Hi! My name is Ms. Ziemke. Please join me as I travel to New Orleans to study climate change. Check my website at www.tinyurl.com/burley106

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ms. ZF skypes into 106 and kayaks the swamp

Hi Friends! To view more photos and info visit my website by clicking here.

It was so great to see and hear the Friends of 106 today! I miss you guys! I hope you liked learning about my caterpillars. I was VERY impressed with all your questions. You are really learning a lot about climate change and Louisiana. Thanks Mr. Strother!

If you didn't get a chance to ask me your question, please sent me a comment on the blog or save your question for tomorrow. I will try to call Room 106 again. I can not wait to see you all on Monday!

Today I did a lot of work in the lab. This morning I looked at leaf samples we collected in Ziploc bags. We didn't know the names of many of the plants, so I had to look for a matching photo on the internet to learn the name. Then I labeled each bag with the name and entered it into a data table for future reference.

Want to act like a scientist? Find a tree near your home and collect a sample of 10 leaves. Look at the "area" those leaves cover. Then look at the whole tree and use your sample to make an estimate, or "best guest" for the total number of leaves on the tree. This is what we do in the field every day!

Next, I cleaned the "zoo." The "zoo" is what we call the racks of caterpillars we have collected. So far we have collected about 140 caterpillars. Here is a picture of the zoo.

Every day we need to add new leaves for the caterpillars to eat. In order to do this, we need to go "grocery shopping" for the caterpillars. This consists of us walking around a field site and gathering plants. The caterpillars only eat specific plants, so it is like each caterpillar has a "special order." We also have to dispose of the frass. Frass is the technical term for caterpillar poop.

This afternoon we got to go kayaking in the Pearl River Management Area. It was awesome! I felt like such an adventurer. Kayaking through the swamp is unlike anything I have ever done in the Midwest. I feel so lucky that I got to experience it!

We counted an entire plot of leaves, but found no caterpillars :(.

Thank you Phil, Katie, Meaghan, Jeff, Mr. Kovacs, and the Jungels family for your comments!
To answer a few of your questions...

*There is a chance that outside factors, like seasonality and invasive species, may impact the changes we are seeing in the New Orleans ecosystem. As the team analyzes the data we have gathered they will reveal more information about this question!
*Yes! Some of the caterpillars we have collected are Monarch butterflies that are migrating to Mexico. Isn't it exciting to think that some of the caterpillars we raised in our classroom might have stopped in New Orleans on their way south? I have goosebumps thinking about it...
*I do not have too many mosquito bites, but I have been wearing bug spray when I go into the swamp. Yesterday it rained and after the storm the mosquitos were BAD! I am keeping my fingers crossed for no bad bug bites...
*At night we work on our websites, do more research and play Cranium. It is so fun! I have not had this much fun WITHOUT TV for years! It is great!
*Today 3 teachers and 1 scientist saw an alligator while they were collecting caterpillars. I have not seen an alligator yet so I feel a little jealous.

Have a great night! I will post more info tomorrow!


At October 29, 2009 at 11:14 AM , Blogger blog said...

Hi Ms. Ziemke,
It's the fifth grade from room 302 and we are having fun reading your blog. We have a few questions for you.

First, Violet wants to know if putting the caterpillars in the Ziplock bags is harmful for them.

Claire wants to know why you chose this particular area to study.

Alex K. wants to know how you capture the caterpillars.

Ryan wants to know how many different kinds of leaves you need to grocery shop for.

Jordan wants to know where you sleep and eat.

Maddie would like to know how you keep the caterpillars healthy while you are studying them.

Margaux wants to know if you find different kinds of caterpillars and how many different kinds there are. What is the most common kind?

Ingram wants to know the specific types of plants that caterpillars eat.

Julia would like to know about the poisonous caterpillars. Which is the most poisonous?

Noah W. wants to know how the caterpillars breath in the bags.

Francisco wants to know if you used fractional geometry to count and estimate the leaves.

Alex P. wants to know if you were scared of the poisonous caterpillars.

Bob would like to know how many leaves the caterpillars eat a day.

Habert would like to know how big the caterpillars can get.

Ethan wants to know what your favorite part of your studies is.

At October 29, 2009 at 4:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. ZF,

This is Roni Timble and her father. We are wondering if you have seen any
baby frogs or toads? If you have, you are really lucky. Because baby frogs
and toads bring you good luck.

Also, have you seen any four-leaf clovers?

See You Soon!



(Note from Roni's Parents - Please try to eat at Mandina's before you
leave NO. It's on St. Charles and you can take the streetcar there.


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