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Congaree National Park

Congaree:  The largest old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States.

I absolutely LOVE national parks.  In fact, one of the things that tops my bucket list is to visit all 58 national parks!  This past week end I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to mark another national park off my list:  Congaree National Park.

Located near Columbia, South Carolina, this floodplain forest lies along the Congaree and Wateree rivers.  The park protects over 26,000 acres of old growth bottomland hardwood forest.  This is a wetland system and the vitality of the area depends upon the flooding and receding of the rivers with seasonal rains. Until the late 1800s huge areas of South Carolina were covered by these floodplain forests, but in the 1880s the lumber industry began to harvest the trees.  In less than 50 years most of these forests had been cut.  The area now protected by this national park was spared cutting because logging was especially difficult in this area.

Congaree National Park is known for its unusual array of giant trees that hold the record for size of their species.  Species include loblolly pines, hickories, and bald cypress.  The combination of loblolly pines with hardwoods is an uncommon forest association in floodplains.
Bald cypress trees grow in abundance at Congaree.  The largest bald cypress in the park is over 27 feet in circumference.  The cypress trees thrive in this area despite their strict growth requirements.  Look for the characteristic wide trunk base and cypress knees.  This gives the tree stability during floods.  The bald cypress is different from most conifers in that they shed their needles each winter.  The "knees" are roots that have grown upward.  Their function is not completely understood, but may help anchor the tree in the soft soil.

Loblolly pine and two daughters
who eagerly share in all of my "mom" adventures.

My favorite is the loblolly pine.  Unlike most pines, the loblolly can thrive in this wet ecosystem.  The tallest in the park is over 170 feet and has a circumference of over 15 feet.

Congaree became a protected area in 1976 when a public campaign was launched to protect it from logging.  It obtained National Park status in 2003.

Hiking through this old growth forest was a snap. The boardwalks and trails are well maintained.  Signs and directional arrows are placed in such as way as to provide excellent information without being overly intrusive. There are many different trails to choose from, ranging in length from 1 to 12 miles.  The photo collages below will give you an idea of some of the highlights of our walk.

I especially loved the activities designed for the kids.  A science teacher living in this area would be remiss not to take advantage of this marvelous field trip opportunity.  The brochures for children are attractive, engaging and provide fun and informational activities.

While perhaps lacking the grandeur of Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Parks, I enjoyed visiting Congaree National Park very much! My only regret is that the visitors center was closed on the Sunday that we visited.

Now to find that next national park to mark off my bucket list........

Respiratory System Warm Ups and Interactive Notebook Pages

These snazzy new warm ups, bellringers and interactive notebook pages on the respiratory system will take your breath away!!  

(Cue up the canned laughter....)  All corny jokes aside, I am very excited to share my newest set of interactive notebook pages with you.  I am slowly but surely working my way through the human body systems.  This set of 19 student pages covers the respiratory system.  The following pictures and images will give you the best idea of what is included in this newest product.

Click on any image below to view the product in my TpT store.

This product can be purchased individually, or as part of a growing bundle. This is the first time that I have tried out the idea of a "growing bundle."  I have many return customers who are eagerly awaiting the completion of all of the human body system warm ups.  In the past, I have bundled together many sets to offer at a discounted price.  Many people have requested that I give them the opportunity to buy the bundle from the very beginning.  So I have tried to honor that request by offering this growing bundle.

What is a growing bundle?  A “growing bundle” is a bundle of products that is being posted to my store before all of the individual products are complete. As the new individual products are developed, they will be added to the bundle.  With this “growing bundle” I am offering you the option of buying the bundle before the completion of the individual products.  

As of this writing, the bundle contains:
•  Introduction to the Human Body
•  The Skeleton System
•  The Muscular System
•  The Integumentary System
•  The Circulatory System
•  The Respiratory System

The rest of the of the human body systems will be added to the bundle as I get them completed.  Click the image below to view the growing bundle in my TpT store.

I hope that you are having a restful and relaxing summer.  Take time to recharge and regain your sanity because the new school year will be upon us soon!

Happy Teaching!

Science Calendars: Important Dates in Science History

Did You Know??

July 1, 1796:  First smallpox vaccination by Edward Jenner.

July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.

May 5, 1963: First human liver transplant.

May 26, 1676: Leeuwenhoek observed his "tiny animalcules."

Kids and adults alike love science fun facts!  These science calendars will provide a fun science fact for each day of the year, as well as provide a cool bulletin board or wall display.

Click images to view product.

My students really enjoy reading the science fact of the day, and it has sparked some great questions and conversations in my classroom.

You can print these calendars for your bulletin board, or post them in the hallway outside of your room for a cool wall display.  Or you can simply write the science fact of the day on the chalkboard.

However you decide to use them, they are interesting, students will learn some new things, and well.....they are just fun!!

The calendars run from July through the following June.  I update the calendars each year.  Once purchased, you simply download the new versions each year.

Start your class period with a couple of minutes of "science fact fun" to set the stage for a great class period.