Category Archives: Children’s Art & Science Classes

Reptile Movie

I just re-discovered this short film written, filmed, acted and directed by a group of after school students in Dr. Aguie’s after school program with the 21 Century Grant. We planned a longer version for SciTV, but in the end we got this trailer. Not too shabby I have to say. Click on the photo to get the link to the movie.





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Dissecting Flowers

dissecting a flowerLast week Dr. Augie’s had the pleasure of helping some Girl Scouts get their flower badges.

The requirements were:

1. Uncover the science of one flower
2. Look under the petals
3. Find out how flowers help people
4. Have fun with flowers
5. Send a message in flower code

To that end the girls dissected some early season flowers, snow drops. They turned out to be wonderful specimens having all the parts in the diagram and having full ovaries. Once the girls read about the parts of a flower and discussed what they knew about flowers, they then each dissected and labeled their flowers. After that they took turns viewing their flower parts under the microscope.

To have fun with flowers they built their own flowers out of coffee filters, paper and pipe cleaners. The results were beautiful as well as educational.



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Frog Blog

holding frogToday the weather was perfect- for catching frogs. Dr. Augie’s set up a gig with the Boy Scout camp exploring the stream by the camp. Unfortunately the path to the stream was bordered in poison ivy. So plan B went into action. I hiked over to another part of the stream and found some neighborhood kids, and asked them to catch me some frogs. They were happy to oblige. I even put on the water boots and did some collecting myself.

We were amazed by the caddisfly larva on the bottom of the stream, thousands of them. We scooped some out and put them in bowls. The bowls were writhing with larva. Very fun to watch. We caught one mayfly naiad, a dragonfly larva, and two species of water striders. We did see lots and lots of watercress. The kids told me that the water in the stream this spring was roaring, but then the watercress grew in and slowed it down. Great observation.

Back to the Boy scouts (there were girls there too! with the Venture Scouts.) When I arrived the group was waiting their turn with target practice and didn’t seem to interested in frogs. (I know how cool is that, you get to shoot BB guns during camp.) But the frogs were jumping and diving in their container making themselves pretty darn interesting. Then I showed them the container of stream organisms and there were lots of questions and answers and looking at the aquatic keys to see what they were looking at. No leaches they decided, to their disappointment. They did key out the frogs as ‘mink frogs’ (Lithobates septentrionalis).

After everyone had their fill of observing, three boys walked over and braved the path of poison ivy so we could release the frogs. They seemed content to be back in the swampy stream.

me holding a frog netting frog looking at frogs caddisfly in stream releasing a frog frog

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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in backyard science, Camps, Children's Art & Science Classes, events


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Mini Bioblitz with the Berkshire Museum

museum bioblitz 2015This June the Berkshire Museum held a small bioblitz at Onota Lake with Egermont Elementary School students. It was a great day, lots of collecting and sharing. The weather was perfect the kids were well behaved and the teachers were great to work with in the field. Thanks to Joann Batman for inviting Dr. Augie’s to participate.

pond collecting kids collections crawdad collecting pond

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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in backyard science, Berkshire BioBlitz, Children's Art & Science Classes, insects, Science, science in the parks


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Carbon Cycle and a Dead Cat

carbon cycle 1It was time to learn the carbon cycle in bio class. Two smarty-pants in the back of the class, copied the notes and decided they could now play games. Why not, they got the material. They have good grades. Fortunately I saw this opportunity as a break from my teaching. I handed them the chalk and my notes and said, “Teach.” They taught about carbon moving from the air, to the trees and plants through photosynthesis, then to the animals that ate the plants, and was eventually breathed out the carbon in the form of carbon dioxide.

“Keep going.” I prodded,
“Do we have to draw the dead rabbit?”
“What do you think?”
“Well we have a picture of a dead dog on our phone we found on our way home from school. Can we use that?”
“Heck yeah.”
dead cat bonesThey showed the picture around and explained that the carbon stored in living things is released after death during the process of decomposition.



cat giordonBut there is more to the story. The next day Giordon walks in all geared up carrying a plastic bag. Guess what was in the bag. If you think it was a dead dog, you would be wrong. We examined the carcass through the double plastic bags. It had passed through putrification and was pretty well dessicated. So it smelled sweet as opposed to rancid. We determined by the teeth and claws it was a cat.


Not to be out done by my students, in the area of “grossness’. I brought the carcass home and soaked it in a bucket of water. The fur was stuck hard to the skull so it took all summer for it to finally separate. I fished the bones out with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. Not a bad collection of bones. Some of the spine and ribs are still stuck in the guts, but the skull, leg bones and half the spine can be seen here. Remember some of the body tissue has been released as carbon gas back into the carbon cycle. That is what it is all bones

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Children's Art & Science Classes, Science, science in the parks, Uncategorized


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Water Filtration

filtering waterThe a bunch of kids at the park learned about where our water comes from, where it goes and how it gets cleaned in the process. To make this more understandable we did some filtration activities. First we simulated what water would have in it at the reservoir, the younger kids ran about and got sticks,seeds, dead and living leaves and grass and dumped it in our container of water. Then they chose from a selection of filtering mediums for the first filtration step, like the giant grate at the water treatment plant. They picked the netting from an onion bag. Then they used a metal mesh strainer. Once the large organic materials were removed, they used filter paper, cotton and paper towels. They figured out that the paper towel worked the best.

To take it a step further they then tried a combination of filters all at the same time to see if they could speed up the process. Good thinking!
filtered water 2filtered water 3

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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Camps, Children's Art & Science Classes, Science, science in the parks


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Dr. Augie’s Nature & Writing Camp

pH testing stream waterAre your kids or grandkids getting bored this summer? Well sign them up for Dr. Augie’s Nature and Writing Camp! It will be loads of smart fun, silly fun and just plain fun!

August 4-8, 2014
9am to 1:30pm Cost $175 or $35/day

You can print and mail the application or you can pick up an application at St. Mark’s Church office.

​Students are taken on daily guided nature hikes, where we’ll explore the terrain and examine different kinds of local plant and animal life. Afterwards, everyone adjourns to the classroom to write a fictional story based on some of the flora and fauna we encountered that day.

Additionally will meet Mr. Horace Franklin Turtle and other live animals as we learn about invasive and native species. Ages 7-12.


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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Art, Camps, Children's Art & Science Classes, insects, Science, science in the parks


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