I'd say that I need to read up on my science so that I can answer her questions, but her mind is like fireworks -- a single cluster of information can explode in so many different directions that it's impossible to precisely predict where she's going to go.
This morning, over the duration of about a fifteen-minute drive, we discussed:
- Whether whales and dolphins are the only mammals that live entirely in the sea. I eventually came up with porpoises and manatees, but couldn't immediately tell her the difference between a porpoise and a dolphin.
- That sharks are fish.
- Whether snakes are slimy on their bellies (she had been misinformed by an older child, apparently).
- That worms can be slimy, but they are not snakes, but a sort of bug, since they aren't reptiles and don't have any bones.
- How bugs can stand up and walk if they don't have any bones. I got to introduce her to the word exoskeleton, which is an excellent word to know.
- How crabs and lobsters, despite living in the ocean, are more like bugs than like fish.
- The various obvious characteristics of reptiles (air-breathing, scales, egg-laying). She knew all this on her own -- the discussion was in how she got to present this to her class.
- The various obvious characteristics of amphibians (gills as young, lungs as adults, egg-laying, smooth skin).
- That birds have feathers, though on some birds (e.g., penguins) they're tiny and hard to see. Also, that all birds have wings, though some (e.g., penguins and ostriches) can't fly.
- The platypus, which I told her was the only mammal that lays eggs (though apparently I was mistaken, as some poking around on wikipedia reveals that echidnas are also monotremes). But since we'd reached school by this point, I pulled up a picture of a platypus for her on my iPhone while we walked up to the school so she could giggle at it.