For a complete introduction and to get to know each Fuddlebrook story/concept, work your way across the main menu bar above. Have fun exploring, and please contact us with any questions you may have!

But that's not all. Check out the introductory video that explains why we created the Fuddlebrook School Science Series.

Resources

This month we explore some of the incredibly awe-inspiring ways animals have adapted to their environments over time.

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Did you know volcanoes are not just on Earth?  Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System.

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The days get longer and warmer. We adapt by changing out wardrobe, getting our summer haircut, and maybe even eating different “cooler” foods. How do animals adapt to these changes? Nature is so awesome but so often taken for granted. This month we explore some of the ways animals have adapted over time.

Living in communities: Of all the cool adaptations in the animal kingdom, perhaps the most important is the habit of living together in communal or family groups. They can help each other find food, defend against predators, and care for young. Countless species engage in group living, either in herds, colonies, harems, complex societies, or loose associations.

Flight: Animals have evolved a number of ways of navigating the Earth, including walking, swimming, climbing, and hopping. But the evolution of flight takes maneuvering on this planet to a whole different level! Flying not only delivers an animal from one place to another much faster, it also allows creatures to escape predators, explore new territories, and look for resources.

Migration: Perhaps nothing in nature is more awe-inspiring than watching the movement of a population of animals as they migrate from one place to another. The reasons for migration are varied, but they usually have to do with finding food and a good place to mate.

Camouflage: The ability to blend into the surrounding environment can come in handy when trying to avoid a predator, especially for those animals with little other way to defend themselves. Several animal species can change their appearance to match their surroundings.

Hibernation: A lot of animals hibernate, including chipmunks, hedgehogs, bats, and bears. Some animals, such as the America black bear, snooze through winter but can be aroused from their slumber somewhat easily. Others, such as most small mammals, enter a deeper state. It is usually quite difficult to stir these animals during hibernation.

Conservation: For animals that live in areas where resources such as food and water are scarce for long periods of time, the ability to conserve fat and water in the body can mean the difference between life and death. A good example of resource conservation comes from the Bactrian camel, a two-humped ungulate that lives in the rocky and arid regions of Central and Eastern Asia, where temperatures range from -20°F in winter to 100°F in summer. Bactrian camels have a couple of key adaptations that help them to survive these harsh conditions. First, their humps are filled with fat, which can be converted into energy and water in lean times. Second, they can forgo sweating until their body temperatures reach nearly 105°F.

Size Changes: Some animal species try to appear larger in order to ward off predators. The blowfish, also called a puffer or balloon fish, has the ability to puff up to about twice its normal size in response to a predator's advance.

Hair: To most mammals in the wild, hair offers important protection from the elements. The musk ox is  an example. It has an important adaptation to its bitterly cold home on the vast Alaskan tundra: Its thick, shaggy hair hangs down to the ground and gives the ox the protection it needs to endure frigid temperatures. Some of the hair is shed in time for summer, allowing the musk ox to cool down as temperatures reach 40-50°F

Nest parasitism: Certain cuckoo birds are famous for their habit of nest parasitism, which refers to laying their eggs in the nests of other species, who then feed and care for the cuckoos' orphaned offspring.

Want to learn more? In the Fuddlebrook book, A Family Visit, Herman’s Jelly Bean Hunt, illustrates adaptation through camouflage. Watch our video as Chloe demonstrates.  Also read two other Fuddlebrook books, A Change of Season which introduces hibernation, and In Search of Hidden Treasure where we learn how bats adapt to their cave habitats. Also check out this Animal Planet link for more details. 

Yes, science and nature are awesome. Take time to truly marvel at how we and other animals adapt.

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The mystery and beauty of the Solar System has fascinated humans throughout time.The Solar System consists of the Sun, eight planets and their natural satellites, dwarf planets, asteroids, and comets. The large gas planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The smaller rocky planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The order of planets from the closest to the Sun is Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Until 2006, Pluto was classified as a planet, but is now considered a dwarf planet. Jupiter is the largest planet and named after Jove, the chief god of Roman mythology. Jupiter is three times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star. In the book, The Substitute from Jupiter, Freddie, Liza, and Bert solve the mystery of a "far out" teacher!

So what else do we know about Jupiter? It is two and a half times more massive than all the other planets in the Solar System combined and is one of five planets visible to the naked eye from Earth. The ancient Babylonians were the first to record their sightings of Jupiter. This was around the 7th or 8th century BC.

The Great Red Spot is a huge storm on Jupiter. It has raged for at least 350 years. It is so large that three Earths could fit inside it. Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System. Jupiter’s moons are sometimes called the Jovian satellites and the largest of these are Ganymeade, Callisto, Io, and Europa.

These four large moons were discovered by Galileo in 1610. Jupiter also has dozens of other smaller moons that are thought to have originated from passing asteroids. Currently there are 67 confirmed moons of Jupiter. Io is the fifth moon of Jupiter and the fourth largest moon in  the Solar System.

Io, which is the focus of this month’s video, is the most volcanically active body in the Solar  System with more than 400 active volcanoes. It also has 100 plus mountains, some larger than Mount Everest.

So now that you know a little more about Io, enjoy painting volcano eggs with Chloe and Ms. Terri. Also take time to read the fun story of The Substitute from Jupiter where the substitute teacher, Beatrice Bumfuzzle, enjoys the last laugh.

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What people are saying

This new series marvelously succeeds in introducing young students to inquiry-based, experiential learning of scientific concepts that are age-appropriate. Moreover, students have the opportunity to explore story-based scientific concepts further through hands-on investigations.

--Teresa, Biology Ph.D; former elementary teacher, Springfield, MO

What people are saying

The thing I love most about the Fuddlebrook series is the connection aspect. Not only have the creators connected literacy and science, they have also provided opportunity for exploration of all areas of life. The dispositions and traits of the characters are consistent throughout the books and lead to discussions about friendship, bullying, loyalty, honesty, and humility. Fuddlebrook is "teaching the whole child by connecting to life."

--Carolyn, First Grade Teacher, Ozark, MO