Friday, June 29, 2012

Nature Study with Flowers - May and June 2012

I didn't really intentionally plan it this way, but the past couple of months our times of nature study have centered on flowers.   One thing I have noticed about the city in France where we are living is that they do really well keeping on the various flower beds in the parks and planters around town supplied with flowers as the seasons change.  They have changed several times as we've gone from winter to early spring to late spring and now to summer.  Perhaps that's why we are drawn to them.

A few of the flower-related activities we have done:

- Observed dandelions in all their stages of development.  I think dandelions abound everywhere, and my kids seem to particularly enjoy them.  I've seen some of the biggest dandelions I've ever seen here in France!   One interesting little tidbit I found in the Handbook of Nature Study is that dandelions take their name from the French phrase "dents de lion" or "lion's teeth", because the leaves have a jagged, tooth-like appearance.  Have a look next time to you pass a clump of dandelions and I think you'll see what I mean!!  We also watched this time lapse video (click through and scroll down) of a dandelion and Michelle gave me an excellent narration of what she saw!

- We observed the parts of a flower by taking apart a petunia (the flowers currently inhabiting most of the planters in our neighborhood.) Michelle enjoyed looking more carefully and each part with a magnifying lens. 


We had previously talked a bit about pollination after having read "The Selfish Salvia", a story from our current nature read-aloud Outdoor Secrets.  It was a nice follow up to be able to take a look at the parts in question.   Obviously, I don't expect that she fully understands why and how flowers are pollinated at this stage in the game, but nature study in the early years is all about laying the foundation for future science studies.  Down the road when we study the topic of botany more formally, she will have these experiences to recall.
My 'petunia' nature journal entry...
...and Michelle's (dictated to me, artwork is hers)

- We visited the beautiful rose gardens at one of the parks in town.  (You can see more  pictures of this excursion here.)   We observed the colors of the flowers and sat quietly to observe what the bees were doing as they flew from flower to flower, again recalling what we read in "The Selfish Salvia". 

- We planted sunflower seeds in pots on our apartment balcony.  Three days later and one has already started to push up through the soil!  This project will be an ongoing observation all summer, inspired by one of the suggestions in Barb's latest set of Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Sketching our first sunflower sporut in her nature journal

I recently began a study of Romans for my own personal Bible Study and right in Romans 1 it talks about how God's character has been clearly seen in His creation.  I hope and pray that as we continue to observe all of the things around us in this beautiful part of the world that my children - and I!! - will be drawn into a deeper sense of reverence for our Saviour.

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely done! I love all the little aspects of your flower study and how you are adapting not only to your environment but to your children's level of interest.

    Nature journals too! Love the sketches.

    That is one of my favorite scriptures in Romans too....His invisible qualities are clearly seen in the world's creation. Thank you for sharing your entry with the OHC carnival.