Tuesday, July 5, 2011


It's July.  Did you vacation in June or plan to go in August?  Or maybe you plan to stick close to home.  Chicago's Field Museum has a couple of tools that might make your staycation edutaining (educational and entertaining).

Rapid Color Guide: Plants
First, if you can only go as far as your computer screen, you'll want to take a look at the Rapid Color Guides.  From this page, you can link to downloadable, full-color guides to Tropical Plants in Central and South America.  Nature lovers will spend hours looking at the diversity of plants from this region.  Parents and educators will want to use the guides to help older students with science projects.  Even the youngest will enjoy looking at the shapes and colors that abound in these guides.  For them, maybe cutting up a couple of the guides and asking them to match shapes and/or colors would be a good way to spend a hot afternoon indoors this summer.  Describing the plants and discussing where they're from would be an edutaining bonus.

Next, I'd direct you to the Rapid Color Guides for Animals.  These guides break down the animal species found in tropical and subtropical locales.  An example of one of their butterfly guides appears on the left.  Anyone will enjoy exploring the rainforest or ocean via these colorful guides.  As with the plant guides, all guides are downloadable as well as searchable by country, subject, and taxonomic group.

And lastly, if you're in the Chicago area and would like to explore outdoors, you can check out the Field Museum's Keys to Nature Project (http://fm1.fieldmuseum.org/keystonature/). This online resource guides explorers through a series of questions to identify plants and animals in the Chicago area.  Looking it over, I think the resource would also work for a larger region around Chicagoland.  If you're in the Midwest, check it out and see if it works for you too.

If you have a Facebook account, the Rapid Color Guides--Field Museum has a page with links to all these resources and more.  You can find them here: http://www.facebook.com/RapidColorGuidesFieldMuseum?sk=info.

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