Monday, October 6, 2008

Starting our tree study

Today we took on another challenge from the Handbook of Nature Study blog. This one I'm really excited about... it's Challenge #11, the year long tree study. I think it is going to be very cool for us to follow the changes of one tree throughout the seasons.

We picked a tree that we can see from our front windows so we can observe it daily.

Here Clara works on doing a bark rubbing...
Alex and his big giant leaf...
I wish I had photos of us getting this monster off the tree. To give you a bit of a visual, it involved me lifting Alex up multiple times before he caught hold of it and pulled.

We set up camp on our front steps (another bonus of choosing a tree that's close)...
Here is Alex going through the guide book to find our tree...
We're pretty sure it's a Norway Maple. Which makes sense since the guidebook states that it's used as a "street tree" and is tolerant of city pollutants. Although Alex is concerned that this leaf measured larger than it said it should be in the guide book. :-)

It washed out in the photo but here's Clara showing off her leaf rubbing...
And here she is drawing the tree....
Alex traced the leaf and then drew in the veins...
Alex's completed entry...
Clara finishing up her drawing...
We took all of their rubbings and stapled them to their journal entry page from today.

I thought when we took on these nature study challenges that we would just be learning about nature... well... we are... but I am so impressed by how observant the kids have become since we started. They really look at things and study them. They don't do just what they have to do to finish the assignment. We take as long as we want to do the challenges and I let them pick their own special focus too. On this one... Clara drew the tree, taking special care to get the right mix of brown, gray and green in the bark.... Alex drew the leaf, detailing the intricate designs of the veins. I'm really, truly loving our nature study!

2 comments:

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Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

What a wonderful entry this week. :)

That is one big leaf. It looks very similar to the Big Leaf Maple we have in our area...I am not sure where you live.

I love your observations about your children showing great focus. I think that is the most important lesson we can help our children learn from nature study. The more we look, the more we see.

Fantastic.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Could I use one of your photos for the Outdoor Photo of the Week? Please email me and let me know.
harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com