Monday, May 16, 2011

Nature Study- Apple Tree Blossoms

We have been waiting with great anticipation to complete this part of the spring nature study.  Our old apple tree in the backyard is the perfect tree to observe as it serves as a backdrop for most of our time outside.  We are now in the full swing of spring, and the tree is abloom.  It is absolutely spectacular this year.  I am always impressed by the display the good Lord creates for us in this vernal season.

We began our study by reading a Stopwatch book entitled Apple Tree by Barrie Watts.
Apple Tree (Stop-Watch Series)

The book does an excellent job with the text and photographs in teaching young children (or anyone) the process by which an apple tree produces fruit and grows throughout the four seasons.  

We bundled up to go out in the rain to make our observations and collect apple blossoms.  

First we looked at the general characteristics of the tree.  
We used a measuring tape to estimate the height.  The tree is about 40 feet high.  We used a flexible measuring tape to measure the circumference of the trunk.  It is 120 inches around.  We looked up into the leaves and blossoms which are beginning to fall. We observed the bark which is dark brown, green, and black.    

Each child carried a bucket to collect some blossoms.  

We counted five petals on each bloom and examined the pollen.  The boys immediately remembered that bees get the pollen on their legs and bring it from flower to flower.   (Thank you Barrie Watts!)  They each brought their collection into the house for closer observation and journaling.  

We smelled the blossoms sweet aroma.  We observed the white and subtle pink color.  Each boy drew a tree with blossoms and a close up including five petals with pollen.  They dictated their observations to me which I recorded.  
We concluded today's study by having an apple for snack. Later in the week we will read The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons and completing other apple theme related work.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nature Study- Wildflowers

We did not have to go far to find nice specimens for this study.  Simple lawn wildflowers are a source for all kinds of questions and answers.  We began with Dandelions.  It was cloudy today, so the flowers were closed up to some degree.  We measured several batches in our yard ranging from one inch to eight and a half.  We could not find any that were going to seed.

Yes, Dandelions are pesky.... but they are also a great source of beauty.

 They have such sunny, happy faces.   
 These purple gems I have known as Creeping Thyme.  My lawn is full of it.  When we mow the field the air is permeated with its sweet smell.  The boys were quick to snatch up samples of these tiny purple beauties.
 We also have many patches of wild Violets.  Both purple ...
 and white.
Here is a mystery flower we are yet to name.  It is quite small growing only about two inches high.

 This is a small patch near the fence.  If you know the name... please let us know.
 We collected samples to draw in our nature journals.  Today we used water color pencils to create our sketches.
 "T" chose Violets for his journal entry.  
"I" went with the Dandelion.