Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mimosa Tree Study

As I was finalizing our 1st grade curriculum plans for this school this year, I was going over our topics for nature study.  I looked at Ambleside Online's Nature Study schedule, and since the summer/autumn topics are trees, shrubs and vines, I realized this was the perfect fit for us because trees are an easy study for young children.

I decided to pick one or two trees that have very noticeable differences throughout the year, so we can do a focused, year-long study.  Thinking about the trees close to our house, I realized the mimosa trees and apple trees were both good options because of their distinct seasonal changes.

Since I want to have some record of our study for portfolio purposes, I went to Handbook of Nature Study and checked out her printables, and she has a free pages for seasonal tree studies.  I printed one for each season.  We started with the mimosa tree study, at Elliott's request, and walked next door to check them out.

Mimosa trees originated from Asia and were generally used as ornamental trees.  They are, however, considered quite a nuisance to others.  The boys boys love the seedpods though, as well as the vibrant pompom like flowers.

We spent several days during our outdoor/nature study time climbing the mimosas and making observations.  I asked Elliott to draw a picture of the tree, and of the flower.  He got in a bit of a hurry so he could go play, but at least he got the colors down.

"The flowers that were blooming were white, pink and green. It had lots of branches. It had lots of leaves. There was a bird in the tree and a ladybug on the roots. There were butterflies finding nectar." as dictated by Elliott

I love that he noticed all of the other living things that were on his tree!  The flowers are particularly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, so one tree gives us so much to observe.

Another activity we did was focus on the leaves.  We had to do a leaf rubbing, of course.

Then he saw this leaf art pin, and wanted to create his own leaf painting.

Emory had other ideas for his paintings.

We made sure to collect items to press for his nature journal!

This is a different tree, but we found this nest on our walk home, and the boys were thrilled.  I believe it belongs to the mockingbird that has been taunting the neighbor's cat and dog as they pass through, as it generally returns to that tree.

In the fall, we will go back and draw another version of the mimosa tree, and learn some of the more technical terms, but up next is the apple tree!

This tree study is linked up to Blogging through the AlphabetTeach Me Tuesday and Hearts for Home.

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