Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nature Study - Tracing The Brook and Square Foot Investigation

While staying at our lake house, we conducted several informal nature studies, making an effort to continue with the winter series.  On one cold day we used our Handbook of Nature Study to inspire us to trace a brook that runs down the backside of one of the mountains surrounding Lake George.  We frequently pass by some beautiful waterfalls that cascade down a rocky face.  We decided it was worth investigation where the water comes from and where it goes.

We traced a route on the map and headed north through the woods to find the brook active.  In the heavy snow most of it was covered, icy, and lazy.

We found ourselves getting very excited every time we saw a break in the ice and snow.  It was almost like spring!

 We continued traveling up in elevation and the terrain opened up a bit.  We could see more activity.

We then turn around and headed back toward the falls.  It was frozen over, so we could not see any water on top, but we wanted to follow it to its end.  These falls are actually in someone's yard.  Can you imagine owning your own falls?  Notice the maple taps.

Once we passed the elevation change we realized the water had a lot more momentum and life.
The drainage area is flat wetlands.  Even though we pass by this spot many times a day, the boys had no idea what they were seeing.

Now I think that have a much better idea of the topography of the area and the nature of how a brook moves.

Our last investigation of the brook was in the fall.  We studied current with toy boats.  It was warm and we were in the water floating them down different stretches to see what would happen.  This seasonal follow up has renewed our interest.  In a few weeks when the snow melts we will be back to observe the changes.  

Our last investigation involved looking at a square foot of earth to see what we could find.   At first I wasn't sure if this would work for us with the snow, but then I realized it would be like digging for treasure.

We pulled out a shoved and hiked into the woods singing "We are going on a treasure hunt!"  The boys loved it.  They got on their bellies and dug with their mittens as I tossed each shovel of snow.  We started to unearth some "treasures."  We found dried weeds, stones, dry wood, leaves, and some beautiful green moss.  It was spring under the snow!  We were surprised how dry it was underneath.

Here are the treasures.  

Overall we had a great time.   We did less recording than we usually do, but I don't think there was less learning.


Hollinger Family said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

What a great story and adventure for your family as part of this challenge! I am so impressed with all the things that you deduced from your observations and it will be a wonderful lesson when you return after the snow melts.

I am also impressed with your square foot holding your family back and you made some great observations. I think it is so interesting how you can dig down through all that snow and find the ground fairly dry.

Excellent post and I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing with the OHC.