December 9, 2010

More Fish: Field Trip

I love field trips. This one ended up way cooler than I had imagined. Yeah!

We went to a fishmongers, or as close as Utah gets: Coast 2 Coast Seafood Market. I didn't know anything about this place except that it was there. For those of you in my area, it is in Layton, south of the Walmart.

I am now a huge fan.
Some people get a little weird when you say you are homeschoolers--but not the owner of this store. I told him we were there on a homeschool field trip and we wanted to look around at the variety of seafood things in his shop and he got totally excited.

First he brought out a huge salmon.

Then he brought out whatever fish is in the picture below. He said it came from Hawaii but I can't remember the name. Not something with which I was familiar. The children were amazed and impressed and thrilled.
Then he brought out a salmon that he'd cleaned. Cowen asked to see the bones so the man wrapped up the bones for us to take home and examine. Awesome! After we'd looked at all the amazing fishing pics on the wall (he's gung-ho), and oohed and aahed over the items he carried, I let the kids pick something to try. They picked clams, so I bought two pounds of live clams in the shell.

When he was ringing me up, Miriam mentioned she wanted a jar of oysters, so he threw it in for free because it was nearing its expiration date. He also gave us a container of seaweed salad because "the kids should try this" and two mussels so the kids could "compare mussels and crabs."

Basically the man was thrilled that the kids were learning about what he's passionate about. Now, my dad would say he was just making sure I would be a repeat customer, but I don't think so. I think he just got into the spirit of the thing and thought it was fun to impress and entertain and excite the children.
Plus, he was really, really nice.

In the picture below you can see our salmon head/bones/tail. We did our first quazi-dissection with it. We poked out an eyeball to examine (the kids loved feeling the clear covering on the eye), we felt all the vertebrae and we think we found a kidney. We also pried the mouth open to examine the teeth but the kids lost interest in that pretty fast when I accidentally stabbed myself with one of the teeth. So yes, I guess you could say I was bit by a salmon. No worries--my blood blended with the salmon blood. I guess you could say I'm blood brothers (sisters??) with a salmon.

Just kidding. I didn't bleed that much. But, in the future, I will be more wary of salmon teeth.

The scales were a big hit, as was the slime that covered everything still intact. We pried off all the meat in one spot to uncover the ribs. Plus much poking, prodding, touching, squishing was done by all. I quite enjoyed myself and the children loved it.

After we'd finished with the fish bones, we read World Book's Animals of the World: Salmon and Other Bony Fish. This is the thing about homeschool--when I checked out 1600 books on fish (slight exaggeration) and examined them when I got home, I intended to take the salmon book back. It was lengthy and more detailed than I thought the children would enjoy.

But I hardly ever return books until after the unit is over in case one of the children wants to look through the pictures. So this book had been lying around unused until very unexpectedly we "dissected" a salmon. All of a sudden my children wanted to know everything about salmon and especially its skeletal structure. This book, though lengthy, was perfect. My children listened to me read the whole thing (well, Emeline lost interest halfway through, but she's four) and we all learned a ton about salmon. So there you go--you never know for sure what will come in handy during a unit because sometimes complete strangers give you bones.

(Miriam scrubbing clams.)

For supper that night we had steamed clams, fried oysters, seaweed salad, and rice. And two mussels that we shared equally amongst ourselves. (Meaning mom got one and let Miriam and Cowen share the other one. I love mussels.)
Fun times. Tasty too.

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