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Monday, July 9, 2012

Nature Study Monday: Multi-level

In application, nature study is one of those studies that evolves over time. In one sense, on the outside, nature study can look much the same with little persons as it does with bigger persons; observation, delight, being outdoors, etc. But particularly as pertains to the study, the research and record keeping aspects, results will vary greatly according to developing interest and skill. I can clearly see this variance among my own kids as there is a ten year span between oldest and youngest.

Nature journals especially will reflect the age/skill difference as should be the case. I appreciate Lindafay's recent blog post: The First Stage of Nature Journaling. She outlines practical things to think about and several aspects to concentrate on when getting started. My older kids' journal entries (including those I require of them) are very different to what my younger set choose to record in their journals. This difference is good.

To a certain extent the difference is due to the fact that I have distinct goals for each when it comes to their journals. For the younger set, the goal of nature study (and journaling) is to increase interest and nurture natural delight, as well as to teach by modeling careful observation and attention. These skills developed, the goals for the older set might be to continue to develop a habit of observing and recording nature findings in the keeping of a regular journal as well the maintaining of a potentially lifelong source of delight.

Here are a few of my ideas and current practice as pertains to nature journal entries at different levels:

Weekly (all ages, myself included):
Nature Walk - This is time spent seeing. We generally look for things we've never seen before or things that have changed since last time. Occasionally, this gets relegated to time in the backyard (definitely not our favorite) or in extreme circumstances an extended viewing from the window, but ideally not, because we ALL need our time outside in great quantities whether we realize it or not.
Sketch - includes watercolor (goal: to replicate size and color of object). Sometimes this is from some item we pick up along our walk, very rarely do we take our colors out with us... too complicated with littles, though I'd LOVE to do this more often.

Daily (AOy6+, I would love to make time daily for myself too someday soon):
Note: Daily is an ideal, it is not a hard fast rule. In reality, I think it happens about 3x/week.
2-3 sentences and/or sketch - may be a sketch or text only.
May include any of the following:
Add to Bird list*
Add to Animal list*
Add to Plant list*
Note Moon phases
Observe clouds/weather
Observe/record 5 senses

I found this gem on the floor next to my bed.
Yep, that's right where I found him.


If you can get over the heeby-jeebies, this bug can in fact be a source of delight. 
What, you don't believe me? Just look at that shiny, smooth armored covering and the legs that move in a ripple...
 incredible. really.

This is how big. :)

*The Bird, Animal and Plant lists are lists that are maintained on a yearly or lifelong basis. The object must be observed, identified and then listed with the date observed. The list might be kept in a notebook dedicated to the subject or on the last pages of the nature journal. It's a pretty simple matter and doesn't require much thought to begin.

Link up:
Feel free to link up your nature study posts here in the comments!
Please snag a button and include it and a link in your post if you don't mind... that way more people can find us and join us here. :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nature Study Monday: Insect Pests

Tarapoto is in the Rupa-Rupa (never fear, I hadn't before heard that word either until I googled 'high jungle' which is what it means here in Peru). Here in the high jungle tropics we have lots and lots of bugs! We have pretty bugs and ugly bugs. There are harmless ones and scary ones. We have bugs that flitter, scurry, buzz, bite and burrow. There are bugs inside the house and out (thankfully, mostly out). Matter of fact, when it comes to bugs, you name it, we've probably got it. :)

We've had LOTS of fun discovering the wide variety of bugs in our area simply by looking around, you can't miss them. There are so many, that I often (weekly?) see a kind of bug I've never seen before! Seriously.

Most of the bugs that live inside our house I consider pests. Ants, centipedes, mosquitoes, flies, weevils, cockroaches and woodboring beetles are all particularly pesky pests. Non-scary looking spiders are the one exception... they have a job to do, you know. Scary spiders are those with bulky limbs or that are hairy or larger than I feel is reasonable; obviously, scary is a relative term.

Though I try to control these pests with natural products, we do have to fumigate semi-regularly to ward off complete infestation, like that we are experiencing currently since we have yet to fumigate our new house for the first time!

However, while we wait to get in touch with the bug busters, we've taken the opportunity to look and study some of our houseguests. The most annoying of which at the moment is the woodboring beetle. It eats wood. It destroys wood furniture and as I've just discovered, it will eat books too!


This of course will not do.

The only thing we have in common is that of devouring books. However, as a responsible person, I like to leave the book in as close to the original state as possible, you know, thinking of he that reads after me. I found one cursed creature that had made it halfway through 'Science in a Supermarket' and I found the corpse of one who'd died after having eaten through 'Getting Started with Latin' twice! No wonder. Urgh.

Since we caught the one red handed, we made a study of him before we killed him. Yep. I killed him. I let him starve to death on the observation plate. He was stuck on his back and could not get up. I don't even feel bad about it. So there.

Some observations:
Looks like a baby termite.
He has a brown beak.
They have antennae-like mouth parts.
Cream colored.
Six legs.
3-4mm long.
Sometimes you can hear them chomping the wood inside the bookshelf. Yuck.
They tunnel through the wood leaving behind little round sawdust bits (poop?).
The tunnels don't appear on the outside, but you have only touch the wood to feel it cave in under your fingertips.

Now to sketch him. :)
Oh yeah.

Might you have insect pests around that you could study before you eliminate them?

Link up:
Feel free to link up your nature study posts here in the comments!
Please snag a button and include it and this link in your post if you don't mind... that way more people can find us and join us here. :)

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