May 11, 2009

Outdoor Hour #5 - making a list

As I was sitting down to read over the suggestions for our next Nature Study, I remembered that I hadn't as yet shared our previous Outdoor Hour. About a week and a half ago we looked at the Outdoor Hour #5 - making a list.

You may recall that our focus topic is 'rocks'. The task for this session is, briefly;
Pick one item in your focus area to study, turn to those pages (in the Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna B Comstock), and read to your child about that subject. At the end of each section, there are observation ideas for each subject and these observation suggestions will be the parent’s reading assignment this week.(see below) As you find things in your focus area, keep a running list in the front or back of your nature journal of those items.
Then, during the walk, to quietly observe anything we came across, but paying special attention to items in the focus area.

On this occasion, we went for a walk around the block. Miss5 requested a visit to the playground but the wind was bitterly cold so I restricted our outing to once around the block.

According to Miss5, we heard "chickens bok bok", "trees rustling", "a tiny sparrow chirping in a tree", and "noisy cars".

We found a lovely white stone with orange markings through it, just over the road from our house. Miss5 coloured in an outline of this once we got back home, and discovered the joy of coloured-pencils (which allow a much closer colour match than felt pens).

Passing one house, which is under construction, we saw a trench cut in the ground, which allowed us to see the layer of topsoil, and the layer of clay beneath. And we saw many retaining walls made out of igneous rocks.

Miss5 also collected a handful of different leaves and a couple of flowers for our nature journal.

For the readings, instead of using the Handbook, I read out a short passage about igneous rocks from the book Geology Rocks by Cindy Blobaum. I borrowed this one from the library for its "50 Hands-on Experiments!", and have been very impressed with it. We'll be more likely to use the Handbook when we come to study some of the more 'alive' bits of nature, as Comstock's treatment of Geology is quite cursory.

The Geology Rocks! experiments associated with 'igneous rocks' seem worth doing too - looking at the effect that cooling rate has on the formation of crystals in a substance (using molten sugar). This will (hopefully) demonstrate why some igneous rocks are shiny and glass-like, while others are coarse and grainy, when they both started out as magma. I plan to do this with Miss5 tomorrow, and (weather permitting) go on an igneous-finding walk later in the week - but we shall see how the week pans out!


Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

What a great idea to look at the layers of the earth in the trench. I think that was brilliant. :)

I agree with you about the geology section in the HNS. I feel the same way about the weather section. It is enough to get you started but using additional books is necessary. Anna Botsford Comstock had more to say about living things than she did about rocks. :)

Thanks for sharing your entry and I love how you are tackling your focus.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

kiwimumto2boys said...

hi there, I'm a hs mum from Christchurch, nz. How do you find turning the 'world' upside down to work the books suggested on Barb's website? I want to do this with our boys - they love outside and I need to get out more with them!! I want to buy the books Handbook of nature study and keeping a nature journel. whitcoulls have 20% off til 24/01 which works out well. do you use an order notebook with drawing paper, I've got the binded books. They use pencil and come home and wet picture with paint brush and water and pencil comes out as paint. How much time per week do you choose do nature studies? email me at to chat further

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