Cosmic Botany Baby!
Today was really a great school day! It was great in the fact that it didnt happen at home! It didnt happen or even start in the school room! It was all inspired by Bunny’s looking through the fossil book! She found a picture of an Amber fossil and wanted to know what it was. We read all we could about it in the book, but she still wanted to know more. Like Where is amber found, and what kind of trees made it? We found out that conifer trees were the trees that secreted the resin that formed amber. I also found out that sap and resin are not the same thing! All of this reading led us to start studying conifer trees! Using the plant kingdom work from Montessori for Everyone, we talked about where conifer trees were in the classification chart and then I pulled out the free plant book they offer and we read the first few pages that talked about vascular and non-vascular plants and flowering and non flowering plants. She thought it was cool and we started to put all of the information on paper.
As she narrated her report to me, we thought of some more questions and I thought that this was the perfect time for a going out/ nature walk! So we packed up and headed out to investigate conifer trees and absorb the fall weather! Our first stop was a beautiful board walk that has some other nature trials off of it. Unfortunately, the trails were closed due to bow hunting season, so we headed out to another park!
We got to wander around the forest for a while and found some very pretty things for our nature tray! We didnt however find any real pine trees until the end of our walk. When we did, we explored the sap that was dripping on them (read we were covered in it) and we really looked at the bark and needles. Bunny was excited that she can now identify a conifer by the bark. She learned so much by touching and looking the tree! One of the questions she had when we were researching, was how did the seeds come out of a pine cone. So we sat there and pulled on apart! We found, what she thought was how it happened. There is a small thin piece that layers on the top side of each ridge of the pine cone (there maybe more technical terms for this, I guess we need parts of a pine cone cards). This thin layer is what holds the seed. When the ridges open, the thin layer with the seed falls out! With all of this work that Bunny is doing, I didnt forget about Pup! I talked with her a bit about the parts of a plant! Tomorrow I plan on using our botany puzzles to help her learn them!
So there you have it! Work is happening here in a rather organic child led way right now and I love it! The only thing is that I worry since we didnt do math or anything else that we are going to fall behind. I know that this is what Montessori is all about, a child getting so involved in research that they touch on a bunch of other things through it. It is working, but its hard to trust! However, I love that it can happen and that I have the chance to give these days to my girls to learn! Happy Schooling!
October 4, 2012 @ 6:20 am
See if you can get se maths into the tree work. It depends on what Bunny is working on but a review of known concepts is just as good as cooking it into current work. Examples of this could be making a tally chart showing how many conifers as opposed to other trees in an area. This reinforces skip counting in 5’s. this info can be made into a bar graph. You could also use the tally chart to show multiplication. Multiply by five to find out how many conifers in the whole forest. You might do this using a walkers map of the area. If you found how many trees in one square you could estimate the numbers in bigger areas. You could also represent the number with the lnc’s and golden beads etc. I am sure you could think of more. Child led can mean adult guided!!!
October 4, 2012 @ 6:38 pm
Brilliant as always! I love this idea and it is what we did today! We talked about charts (not something we have done too much with) and we walked around our street counting the amount of Deciduous tree and the amount of conifer trees. The we put the information onto a bar graph I found online! Super fun! She loved it so much, we did another one with acorns, rocks, and buckeyes! Thanks so much for the idea! I seem to have the hardest time pulling math into a subject, but I hope I will get better as we do it a bit more!
October 4, 2012 @ 8:13 pm
I am so happy to hear this. It gets easier to spot the opportunities! Well done you.
October 12, 2012 @ 6:12 pm
Great — I’ve never seen a lesson like this one. Would like to try this with my girls.
October 12, 2012 @ 7:10 pm
I’m glad our work is inspiring, but to be honest, I have never seen this lesson either! It is amazing what you can do with a quick internet research and a walk in the woods! Let me know if you guys do something like this too! I would love to see!