Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fun with Math - at the zoo (panda enclosure)

We love animals. Because of that, we have been "Friends of the Zoo" for the past 2 years. There is something nice and relaxing to have a morning walk in the cool breeze of the zoo.

Our membership expired last week and we took the opportunity to head out to the zoo one and this time, with the intention of visiting the famous Panda pair :) Dumpling has been asking to see them for some time but we have been a tad busy on weekend mornings for the past few months.

We had to top $5 for the adults and $3 for child and this is for a preview of 15mins per session. These are "booked" in blocks of 20 mins frequency. We were at the zoo by 840am and our slot was for 920am. When we left the enclosure, the crowd starting trickling in, so do head off early if you can.

The entrance to the Giant Panda enclosure is just across the Otters. Once you enter, there is about perhaps a 2- 3 mins walk, along an "S" shape before we reach the Panda's enclosure. Along the way you can see some information about Yang Tze river and there were loads of small signages. I did not take any photos of the other enclosures (alligator, etc.) because they were all still empty. 

Before being admitted into the Panda enclosure, in a typical Singapore fashion, we had to queue (while a video was being played in the background on a videowall) while a Zoo staff reminded us not to be quiet and not to use flash photography (and in her words "call them by their names - Kai Kai, loudly" *guffaws*). And of course, we paused along the way for some shots :p 

Before we got to the "stars", we passed by the Red Panda section - they were absolutely gorgeous! 

There were some 'interactive' drawers before we got to the enclosure which Dumpling had some fun with viewing the contents.

And finally, we got to see the stars! :) Below is Kai Kai which really is the more active of the two. He clearly has a more inquisitive nature as he kept looking on at the visitors and I thought that he actually looked like he was smiling!

And here's Jia jia who was more interested in her food! :p

Of course, no trip in the Zoo is not completed with some general knowledge peppered along the way...

Dumpling was so excited to see the mascot outside that she squealed in delight. She also insisted on taking photo with just Jia Jia 'because she is so cute and pretty!' LOL


We clearly had a good time though a 15 mins preview is a tad too short if one were to spend time reading up on the various information signages along the way. It would have been great if we had like 20 - 25 mins where Dumpling can at least have more time looking into all the contents of those drawers than having to be rushed through. 

One of our key focus for homeschool for this year is on Math. So I have been getting Dumpling involved in "Everyday Math" where we have "Fun with Math" even when we are outside. We even managed to touch on some simple concepts at the Zoo that morning! 

1) Coins
We are learning on the topic of money and Dumpling saw this flower right outside the enclosure! This flower appears on one of our coins. Do you know what flower this is and which coin it is on?

2)  Calculation of entrance charges
Simple addition (we did this at home after the visit where she cheekily used her toes too!) LOL

3) Identifications of patterns
Dumpling spotted the ABB pattern while we were heading back out to the main area

4) Hunt for Vertical and Horizontal Lines!
This is useful for us when we do data collection

Dumpling had a fun time albeit it was just a short 2 hours visit to the zoo (we were there mainly for the Pandas that morning). What I hope to achieve with Dumpling is to make Math fun and applicable for her. It need not be boring or taught through just the drilling method so it was really fun being able to incorporate a little of of it in our field trip!

Math is one of the focus for our homeschool this year and I will be blogging more on how we can have 'Fun with Math' with our preschoolers in the following months to come!

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