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In fun,easy, inexpensive, Children's Ecology, kids learned an acronym SPICE.  Each letter in SPICE stands for 2 very important concepts in ecology which are easy to learn during "SPICE Adventure Walks" outdoors. By observing and  interacting with the environment and ecosystems, kids apply the concepts which helps them to remember them so they can use them anywhere, anytime.

In SPICE, the (S) stands for Variety and Similarity. The (P) stands for  Patterns.The (I) stands for Interaction and Interdependence. The (C) stands for continuity and Change. The (E) stands for Evolution  and Adaptation.

In this high interest, exciting "PRACTICE SPICE ACTIVITIES" page, the  children use their body parts to practice the SPICE concepts inside or outside. So in this part of Kid's Ecology the kids are studying themselves and each other! The SPICE concepts practiced are listed at the top of each activity.

While focusing on each other, kid's interaction peaks! 

The "Feet Are Neat" activity has children practice "Variety and Similarity"  with their feet. The "Heartbeats - Rhythm of Life" activity focuses on kids  hearing and counting their own and other kid's heartbeats, then moving their feet in rhythm with the heartbeats as they "dance to Nature's Music!"

We use the "Scientific Method" in doing these activities as we continue to  help children organize themselves and develop creative problem-solving skills, as they continue learning "how our planet works!"

ADDITIONS - Kids can compare hands, ears, eyes, or noses in the same manner even though the association is not as good as "feet-heartbeat and dancing," where it is  easy to see both interaction and interdependence of body parts working together. 


PRACTICE SPICE CONCEPTS: variety and similarity, patterns, change, interaction, adaptation.

PROBLEM: How are human feet alike, different? Which group has the most feet that are alike? Do flat or arched feet match up with a certain kind of foot? Which relatives have feet like mine?

SUPPLIES: paper, rulers, markers, crayons, pencils, lots of people (Classrooms, Summer Programs, After School Programs, Family Reunions, etc.), five large cards.


PROCEDURE: Make a chart with 5 columns. Label one column (long, skinny). Label another (short, fat). Label another (average). Label another (flat). Label another (arched).

2. Label Card 1 (long, skinny). Label Card 2 (short, fat). Label Card 3 (average). Label Card 4 (flat). Label Card 5 (arched).

3. Place Cards 1, 2, 3 around the area. Outdoors best because of stinky shoes. Ask each person to take off their shoes and socks and draw around one foot. Take a ruler and measure the length of the foot.  Then take the picture and go to the card which best describes their feet.

4. Record results in your chart.  Take up cards 1,2, and 3.  Place cards 4 & 5 around the area.  Show the students what a flat foot is and an arched foot using your own feet.  Then ask them to group themselves according to the type foot which best describes each of them..

5. Record results on your chart.

6. Ask the people to line up from shortest foot to longest foot.  Record results.

7. While you determine the results of the activity according to the problem above, ask the people to decorate the drawing of their feet to match their own personality. Put the drawings in a pile and see if they can identify them according to the decoration on the foot. Its like Who's Who?

8. When you get home, in the coming days, measure the feet of your family. Are there some feet like yours? Notice how people's feet are different.  As people get older how do their feet change?  Do some people have problems with their feet?  Are the problems caused by the kind of work they do?  How can we take better care of our feet? Why do we ned to take good care of our feet?


PRACTICE "SPICE" CONCEPTS: variety and similarity, change, patterns, interaction, and interdependence.

PROBLEM: How are human heartbeats alike, different? Does age affect the rate of the heartbeat? Does activity level affect the rate of the heartbeat? Can we dance to the rhythm of the human heartbeat?

SUPPLIES: Enough cardboard tubes for one for each two people (toilet paper, paper towels, etc.), paper, pencil .


1. Use the tubes to listen to each other's heart beats. The heart works like a pump with blood coming in and going out. As blood comes in, it makes a sound like (lub) and as blood goes out it makes a sound like (dub).  So we hear: lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub with each lub-dub counting as one heartbeat.

2. Replace the (lub-dub) sound with 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 and so on. The (l) has a lighter sound than the (2). Begin to sing that beat 1-2, 1-2, 1-2.

3. As you sing begin to move your feet to that beat (up-down), (up-down).  As you move your feet to that heartbeat, you are dancing to the rhythm of life itself! How exciting. Now trade so everyone gets the beat of the human heart and all can dance in celebration together. Will everyone be dancing with the same speed? Why? Why Not?

4. To figure out how fast the heartbeat is, listen and count each lub-dub as one heartbeat for 15 seconds.Then multiply that number by 4 to get the number of heartbeats per minute.  Record this in your chart.

5. Make a chart with 4 columns. Write down the name, age, activity level and heartbeat rate for each person.  

6. Look back at the PROBLEM you were exploring.  Use your chart to help you answer the questions.

7. When you go home measure your pet's heartbeat.  Measure your friend's pets.  How are pet's heartbeats different than humans?

8. Share what you have learned with your family. Have a family dance to the "Rhythm of Life".

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