Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn Series #6: Queen Anne's Lace

Outdoor Hour button
Our study of Queen Anne's lace began with a quick visit to the meadow next to our house.  We were able to observe and collect several specimens to examine and then add to our science table.  The boys were able to find some flowers that were still blooming and some that were dried and full of seed.

We noted how the fresh green leaves sprouted from the ground and how the leaves are a feathery shape.  Also the boys were very excited about the carrot-like smell from the uprooted plants.

We then ventured to our garden.  The carrot patch was probably the worst part of my garden this summer.  The soil needs to be enhanced with carrot happy elements such as peat and sand.  This past year the carrots tried to grow in heavy clay.  As a result we ended up with stunted carrots.  Needless to say I haven't been picking too many.  However I realized the value of comparing and contrasting carrots to Queen Anne's Lace.  So I was very glad that the sad little patch had redeemed itself.  We even had a few blooming.  

We picked one that had some nice blossoms..... 

and a stunted carrot. 

We then went back to our classroom to begin our compare and contrast.  We put the two plants side by side to begin.  

As we began to make our comparisons I recorded what the boys noticed on a chart Venn diagram.  The root was our first observation.  The Queen Anne's Lace was white and the carrot orange.  We also recognized differences in the size of the root, coloration of the flower, the thickness of the stem, and the use of the plant.  The boys used magnifying glasses to look at the flowers closely.  The whites of each flower vary from green to white.  

We also found many similarities.  Both smelled like carrots.  They each grow in dirt, have circular flowers, and feathery leaves.   Here is our final diagram.

Our next step was to draw in our journals the Queen Anne's Lace.  This was our first shot at representational drawing.  I was thrilled by what the boys produced.

The Handbook of Nature Study suggests doing a seed count from one blossom.  I decided that it would be a good idea until we started doing it.  The boys are not quite ready to count that high!  We were amazed and ended up saying that it was "a lot."  

Our last experiment was one I had never tried with Queen Anne's Lace.  We aimed to learn about capillary action by placing our fresh blooms in colored water.  


I was surprised that the results were not darker.  You can barely tell from the photographs, but you could tell in person.  The underside was more obvious.  Maybe we did something wrong.  If you have had success with this I would love to hear from you.  I have done it with carnations.  It comes out much darker.  

Overall we really enjoyed this study.  I am looking forward to continuing it next spring.  


Phyllis said...

Very, very top-rate nature study!! I loved it.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I really liked the way you pulled in your own carrots to compare with the Queen Anne's Lace..that was a great idea for your little ones. Counting the seeds...a lot. That about sums it up.

You did a great job again at making this meaningful for your family. Thank you for sharing your results with the OHC.

Hollinger Family said...

Love this, thanks for sharing!