October 21

Ideas for Young Scientists

North Fulton Master Gardeners present lecture series every year on a variety of subjects. I’ve become a fan! This presentation is filled with creative gardening ideas for families and educators. At the end of the video, she presents valuable resources.

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October 21

Previous Post Extension

I especially enjoy connecting science with art. In my previous post, I made a bouquet of fall leaves. Afterwards, I was inspired to collect foliage and create seasonal bouquets. This activity would be fun to do with your family or students. As you collect items, look at the plant parts. Fall is an opportune time to look at seeds, especially in grasses. I only had white chalk, but use colored chalk to design a variety of vases to display your collection. Discuss color and composition. Take photos of your arrangements and create cards or transfer the arrangement to a jar or vase to display inside or outside.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou


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October 9


After all the rain, I discovered a variety of mushrooms or toadstools, during my morning walk. They seem to appear overnight. Why? What do you know about mushrooms? Although they have some characteristics of plants and animals, they don’t belong to either group. Be a mycologist and learn more about these decomposers in the video below.

Mushrooms are usually not studied in elementary school, but they would make for an interesting multidisciplinary study. Look for mushrooms with your children when you go grocery shopping and add this healthy fungus to favorite dishes, such as pasta, omelets, and pizza. Hunt for them on a nature walk, but remind your young scientists never to eat wild mushrooms. Click here to order organic mushrooms to grow at home.

Mushroom in the Rain
Mushrooms are fun and simple to draw. Students will enjoy designing their own mushrooms and adding small animals or insects in their compositions.

October 5

Interesting Plants

In my garden, I try to have a few unusual specimens each year. These are my favorites:

Shrimp Plant- Click here to find out more. My shrimp plant died back last winter, but regrew this spring.

ChenilleClick here to learn more. It’s the perfect hanging plant!

Turks Cap-“This is one shrub that grows really fast and grows about 6-7 ft. tall and about 4-5 ft wide.  It is a hardy shrub that can tolerate the hot southwest sun or the cold 20-18° degree cold weather.”

September 30

Seashore Life

It’s difficult to walk with a science teacher on the beach because she stops to look at the shells, birds, and other wildlife she discovers. I guess I meander more than I walk, but exploring is so much fun!

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September 13

Out is the New In!

I am such a believer of both bringing the outdoors in and bringing children outside. There is a tremendous amount of research about the benefits of children and adults spending time outdoors. These blogs are excellent resources about planning intentional time outside, designing outdoor spaces, and creating indoor spaces that reflect a love of nature.

Click here to learn more about KodoKids

Kodo Kids

Click here  to go to Childhood by Nature.

Click here  to access Tinkergarten.

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Click here for more information about Nature Explore.

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September 8

A Calendar on a Turtle’s Back

I enjoyed watching this tortoise at the Autrey Mill Nature Center in Alpharetta. I was fascinated by the pattern on the shell which led me to further research.

I learned that most turtles have 13 scutes on the middle of the shell. Around the edge of the shell are 28 smaller plates. Native people believed that the 13 larger scutes represented the 13 moons on a lunar calendar and the 28 smaller plates were the number of days between each moon. If you multiply the two numbers together (13×28), the product is 364. Each moon had a name and a corresponding seasonal story.

Image result for thirteen moon children book

I pulled out one of my turtle shells to count the scutes and indeed there were 13 and 28!

Did you notice the lines around the scutes? I wondered if the lines represented the age of a turtle. Acccording to PetMD, “Much like the rings on the trunk of a tree, as a turtle ages it develops rings in its scutes, the plates that make up its shell. However, simply counting them and assuming each one represents a year would be a mistake The rings on a turtle’s scutes denote periods of growth rather than lengths of time.”

Fun fact: Turtles shed their scutes, but tortoises do not. I often discovered scutes floating in my turtle tank.

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