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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. :)


Tina said...

Hi Amy in Peru! So nice to meet you over in my little corner of the blog world! And OH--can I spend some time in yours??? Speaking of nature study--ahem--looks like I could "plant myself" here for a while and learn a thing or a hundred. We'll talk again!! Blessings~Tina

m furnell said...

I so admire your diligence in Nature Study with your kiddos. I know you are an encouragement as you share with other CMers!

amyinperu said...

boy. i feel your pain. that was troublesome for me too. thankfully the jungle of Peru where we live is part of the amazon basin (or close enough to it) as SO many books have been written on that. i had a much harder time when we lived on the coast or in the Andes. so, not knowing where exactly where in Ecuador you live, i can't really recommend any, no. but surely some have been written... it's a matter of research, i suppose. i'd start looking at amazon for birds of ecuador or google field guides ecuador. that's where i started looking for the books i now have and LOVE ;)

Alesha H said...

Amy, I've got a question for you...since moving to Ecuador this past year, we've had a lot of trouble in the "identification" department. (All my North American Birds and Insects of Texas books aren't as helpful as they used to be. ;) Do you have any South American identification references that you have fallen in love with? 

Cindy said...

August wildflower study

Jeanne Webb said...

My post on growing frogs!

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