Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Evolution of Horses on the Timeline

Our science right now consists of both horse biology and chicken biology--the girls are taking horseback riding lessons, and we have chicks!

It's mostly memory work stuff, these topics, because I still have my eye on starting an in-depth study of human biology later this summer, so the plan is to study classification, evolution, labeling of internal and external parts, life cycle, breeds, and stewardship for both creatures.

Classification of horses made for a great research project (and how stoked were we when we finally learned what "odd-toed ungulate" means!), labeling is something that the girls work on every day as part of their memory work (their riding instructor also includes this, briefly, into their lessons), horse care is also covered during their lessons and through library books and videos, breed study is mostly still to come, although the girls have written reports about the horse breed that each rides during her lessons, life cycle is still to come (birthing videos on YouTube--yay!), and evolution was studied last week!

Our horse anatomy coloring book has a page on horse evolution, which the girls colored, cut out, and organized chronologically, then we added in a ton more modern horse ancestors using this online, interactive fossil map. I printed each ancestor off, then the girls cut out the images and important information and added each one to its proper place in the chronology:

I read out loud the info about each ancestor, we discussed how each one represented a change, and then it was downstairs to the big basement timeline, with stacks of horse ancestors, a pot of Mod Podge, and two foam paintbrushes.

It tortures me that our basement timeline isn't perfect--there's not enough room for everything (the lack of space in the Modern Age is critical), the layout of the epochs isn't even, and because it's so busy, it's too easy to accidentally place something in the incorrect decade, or even, in the prehistoric era, the incorrect millennium.

I don't know how you would fix that, though, without standardizing the entries beyond what would be fun for the kids. They like giant pictures, and entire coloring pages, and images printed from the internet, and large, messily-handwritten captions.

And so they glued up their links in the evolution of the horse more or less in the correct spots:

You can at least gather some facts from the messy timeline--horses come after the dinosaurs, and begin to overlap, towards this end of their evolution, with the beginnings of our record of human evolution. Much further down towards the present, we also record the horse's extinction in North America, and then its reintroduction.

And THAT leads to some interesting exploration of human history, and geography, and then leads pretty logically to breed study.

But first I think that we're going to watch those horse birthing videos on YouTube.


Tina said...

Awesome post! Gonna pin it for when Emma's ready for some of this stuff.

Tina said...

Ok, I have no idea if Emma is ready, but I am :0)

I am shooting you an e-mail with questions about your timeline. If you have time, I could use some help!