May 9

Imagination

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?

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April 26

Lines and Scribbles

I just added this book to my library because I immediately saw a connection with nature. Some things are made from scribbles, while others are lines. You will need to think abstractly and use your imagination for this activity! Click here for the Safeshare link.

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When I went walking, I searched for scribbles and lines in the natural world. Such a great activity for observation and communication!

I saw lines:



But here, I saw scribbles:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a walk with your children and identify objects that are lines and scribbles. If you enjoy this theme, check out these picture books:

Click here for the Safeshare link.

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Click here for the Safeshare link. This book could also be used during a discussion of camouflage.

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Scribbling is an important developmental skill for writing, just as crawling and babbling are stages in walking and speaking. When they scribble, children develop the small muscles in their hands, eye-hand coordination, communication skills, creativity, and imagination. Scribbles have meaning and it is the manner in which young children express their thoughts and feelings.

April 19

Dandelion Study

Use dandelions to teach your young scientists about plants! They are safe, plentiful, and move quickly through their life cycle.


The flower’s role is to produce seeds. Because dandelions bloom in the spring, they are one of the first food sources for pollinators.

Can you name the parts of the plant? Dandelions have a tap root, like a carrot. Label the plant parts. Diagrams are found in informational text.

Dandelion seeds disperse by the wind. I am mesmerized by the beauty of these seeds.

A dandelion rapidly changes from a flower to a puffball of seeds. Sequence the life cycle. Click here to watch an animated life cycle. Plant the seeds and journal the growth of the dandelions.

Dandelions are edible. They were brought to America by European settlers and were cultivated for their medicinal qualities and as a food source. After studying dandelions, try a dandelion tea like the one below, or taste dandelion greens. These were at Whole Foods.

These photos were taken after a spring rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take photos of the shadow created by the ball of seeds and draw what you see.

Click here for the Safeshare link.

Click here to listen to the story.

Dandelions: Stars in the Grass - Lerner Publishing Group

Dandelion is a classic children’s book. Click here for the Safeshare link.

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April 12

Spirals

I believe in teaching with a multidisciplinary or cross-curricular approach (integrating subject areas) rather than teaching subjects in isolation. STEM also follows this methodology. I’ve found that students consequently reach a higher level of understanding, develop stronger connections, and see real-life applications. The following is an example of how standards can be chunked around a theme. In this case, it is the study of spirals.

How does the study of spirals connect with math? Click here for the Safeshare link.

Before you watch this, brainstorm where you see spirals in nature. Click here for the Safeshare link.

I am reposting links to past labs that focused on spirals found in nature.

Click here to go to the spider lab.

Click here to go to a lab about snails.

Click here to learn about a proboscis.

I recently wrote posts about conifers and ferns. Add spirals to your study of these plants.

A vortex is spiral shaped. Click here to go to the lab.

Many shells are spiral shaped. Don’t pass by those broken shells!  Click here to go to a lab about shells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use loose parts you find to form spirals. Create spirals with patterns too. When you visit the beach, arrange shells and driftwood into spirals.

Turn spirals into snails or snakes.


From the Artful Parent

Doodle with spirals. Use this activity to teach the elements of design, such as line and space. Make large spirals with chalk outside on concrete sidewalks or driveways.

Cut paper into strips of various widths and lengths. Roll them around a cylinder, like a pencil, and place them inside a box with shallow sides. This would make a simple collaborative project and it is a fun way to strengthen hand muscles.

If you have any additional ideas, please leave them in the comments section.

April 5

Ferns

Most ferns grow in a woodland ecosystem because they prefer lowlight and moist conditions. Isn’t a forest with a fern carpet inviting? In the spring, ferns grow new fronds. Spirals are one of the most common shapes in nature.

Have you ever turned a fern frond over? What did you notice and wonder? These clusters on the underside of fronds are spores which is the means by which a fern reproduces. Ferns, like moss, do not produce flowers or seeds.

When I was at the nursery, I looked for spores on other species of ferns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you find at least two different species of ferns when you go on your next woodland hike? Take a trip to a nursery and compare the various species of ferns there.

March 10

Who Lives Underground?

When I pass by a hole in the ground, I can’t help but wonder who might be living right under my feet! Animals live in the trees, on the ground, and under it as well. Everyone has its own space-a perfect plan! Which animals have subterranean habitats? Chipmunks, moles, voles, rabbits, foxes, groundhogs, badgers, armadillos, and skunks live in burrows. Some crustaceans, insects (ants and yellow jackets), spiders, frogs, worms, turtles, and snakes also burrow underground. While many animals dig their own burrows, others will move into another animal’s burrow when it is abandoned. Underground tunnels provide a safe place to store food and raise young, a means to escape from predators, and protection from hot or cold temperatures.

Click here for the Safeshare link.

Click here for the Safeshare link.

See the source image

I just ordered this book about burrowing animals.

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Tape boxes together to make underground tunnels for a fun extension to your study of burrowing animals. I saw this at allfortheboys.com

To tie in STEM, build mazes with blocks, Legos, or paper towel tubes. Design an underground home for yourself. A German architectural firm, ZA Architects, is designing plans for subterranean living on Mars. This is also the perfect time to provide digging activities for your young scientists. Click here to inspire them.

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February 19

What Do You See?

Every time I pass these trees I smile because they spark my imagination!

Look for natural items, such as fruit, flowers, or other plant parts, photograph the objects, and then mark-up the images to add animal features. This is a fun virtual assignment!

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February 5

Rube Goldberg

A Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM) is a crazy contraption which accomplishes a simple task in the most complicated and funniest way possible. They are based on the “invention” cartoons of the famous, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Cartoonist, Rube Goldberg. To go to the Rube Goldberg site, click here.

The 2022 machine contest has been announced. Click here for the entry form. Be an engineer and create a Rube Goldberg machine!

Check out this biography about Rube Goldberg. Click here. What perseverance!

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Click here to read Rube Goldberg’s Simple Hum Drum School Day. Draw a crazy contraption! What a fun way to demonstrate cause and effect relationships and apply force and motion concepts! All ages will enjoy this creative task!

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January 24

Black and White

In a previous post, I shared pictures of the colorful birds that are frequenting my yard, but this little black and white chickadee is my favorite. Maybe it’s the name or the way they always appear formally dressed that appeals to me. Click here to learn more about the chickadee.

Although countless animals are colorful, there are many that are black and white. I’ve enjoyed reading the book below to my classes. How many black and white animals (fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, or birds) can you name?

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In this story, the reader hears clues about a black and white animal, and then the animal is identified on the following page. Discern the key words as you read:  fins, flippers, looks like a fish, water, mammal.

Click here and Click here for Safeshare links to watch videos of black and white animals. The first link is for younger children.

The following link is a movement brain break using black and white animals for younger scientists. Click here.

How fun to have a black and white themed day at school or home! Dress only in black and white, play dominoes or use dice for a math game, eat Oreos for a special snack, and make one of the art projects below.

This first project introduces symmetry and the fraction one-half. Turn the white paper over to hide pencil marks. For Valentine’s Day, use red and pink paper and cut out various sizes of hearts.

I do not know who originally posted the artwork below.