Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Club: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

A new classic; excellent book, wonderful book club day. Our pre-discussion activities included practicing "the scientific method" by dissecting owl pellets and examining skulls and the results of various science experiments. We also made biscuits and played a rich vocabulary game, matching definitions to words; many of which made the grownups stop and think. Then the kids made up their own words and we had fun guessing the definitions; one favorite ("vocabulust") is below; another word, "gareeben," which came from one of our friends, had a definition that meant, "the state of loving Therese." Awww... I was so flattered, I was momentarily at a loss for words and I think I blushed.

She's examining an owl pellet below, which is a perfect example of step one in the scientific method - asking questions.  Specifically, "what did this owl eat?"  More voles, from what we could tell... but today, the answer wasn't as important as the process.  The book taught that, too - the journey is far more satisfying than the destination and while discovering a new plant and getting to name it for posterity is awesome (in the book, of course), moving with excitement and imagination on to the next adventure is really more thrilling than reveling for too long in celebration.

Thanks to Judy from my work for bringing us this awesome skull!  Will be used again; we have a skull identification workshop coming up in a few months.

Our fabulous vocabulary game, which included matching definitions to the words, "dessicated," "feral," "surreptitious," "ignominy," "pestiferious" and more.

One of the "cards" that we made in lieu of the more artistic ones a friend usually makes; this is the book's heroine with her hair done up for a tortuous piano recital.

Making up words game"  The "vocabulust" definition below is awesome, too:

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