In a previous post, I shared an activity to develop observation skills while developing imagination and creativity. Click here for that post. As you walk, look for natural objects that remind you of something else in nature. I often think of living things. A great virtual activity too!
I saw this fallen tree on my walk today. I think it looks like a shark from the left or to the right, an alligator with its mouth open. What do you see?
Deciduous trees are interesting to study throughout the year. Click here for a previous post about maple trees and click here to learn about sycamores. To investigate chestnut trees, click here. In this post, we are going to study tulip (or yellow) poplars. Actually, tulip poplars aren’t poplars at all, but members of the magnolia tree family. I have observed this grand tree both on my neighborhood walks and in the forest. Click here for a fact sheet about the tulip poplar.
Take a closer look at the yellow poplar’s leaf. The flower looks like a tulip, but the leaf is also tulip shaped.
For the last several weeks the forest floor was carpeted with yellow wildflowers, but it is slowly transitioning to white. Even those yellow wildflowers are dying and leaving behind puffs of white seeds. Watching the forest change is enchanting. Even the mood of the woodland changes with the time of day and type of weather. I like walking at dusk and dawn when sunlight peeks through the leaves and the wildlife is more active.
Consider how the wildflowers grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Luke 12:27)
As I wrote this post, I thought of the yellow dandelions, the purple violets, and the other colored flowers that I have posted about recently. How fun it would be to go on a “Rainbow Flower Walk” with your children (or students) in your neighborhood, a park, the woodlands, or even in a plant nursery. Search for flowers of every color.
Click here for the Safeshare link. Plant a rainbow garden too!
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve, only a few miles from home, has resident goats. I visited the preserve during their Earth Day celebration, and watched children feeding them magnolia leaves, which I consequently discovered is their favorite treat! Watch the goat below push the other goat away from the leaves.
In this post, let’s focus on a goat’s eyes. What do you observe and wonder?
How would it benefit a goat to have horizontal pupils? Scroll under the photo below to find the answer.
Goats are herbivores and need to be able to spot predators approaching along the ground. Horizontal pupils improve peripheral vision, so they can see on either side of them without turning their heads. Click here for the Safeshare link.
The two videos below present additional information about goats. Click here for the Safeshare link.
After studying goats, read TheThree Billy Goats Gruff, a traditional folk tale about three brothers who need to avoid a troll as they cross a bridge to reach the pasture. A folktale is a fictional story that was originally passed down orally. Many folktales have animals as characters, magical elements, and teach a lesson. A common theme is good vs. evil.
It is fun to compare different illustrators’ interpretations of the story. The author will always be unknown. This is also an easy story to dramatize with sound effects. I used a rectangular school table as my bridge. The goats could safely walk across the table with the troll underneath. You may also have a bridge on your playground. Click here for the Safeshare link.
My youngest scientists brainstormed alternative ways the goats could have safely reached the other side of the river. When one of them suggested a boat, my response would always be, “Let’s make boats for the goats!” Click here for the repost of this STEM lesson.
A lesson about absorbency would be a good place to begin. Click here for a simple lesson that will build background knowledge.
To learn more about animal eyes, click here for the Safeshare link.