Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nature Study: Apple Tree Study

I recently mentioned that our curriculum's nature study suggestion for this term is trees/shrubs/vines, and that we are focusing mostly on trees because they are easily accessible for even my youngest to study and enjoy.  We chose two trees that have noticeable differences throughout the year to focus on for our seasonal tree studies.  We started with the Mimosa Tree Study, and now I'm going to share the first leg of our Apple Tree Study.

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There are a couple of apple trees just outside our yard, so we spent a few days observing them for our summer installment.  Summer is obviously a great time to study an apple tree as the fruit is coming in.  I used the Handbook of Nature Study for reference.  I've only used the section on trees so far, but after browsing through the book, I am already so glad I made this purchase!  It looks like it is going to be a fantastic resource, and I can see why it comes highly recommended for nature study.

I asked Elliott to draw the tree (Emory is welcome to participate, but at his age he is not required and he chose to draw something else).

The notebooking page is from the Handbook of Nature Study blog.

It's covered in apples.  It has green leaves.  The apples are different colors.  They are red and green.  Some of them were big and some were small.  Some had worm holes in them.  Some had fallen on the ground.  Emory found three exoskeletons.  ~Elliott's narration

{Emory found cicada exoskeletons, which started us on another nature study adventure, for another post!}

As you can see, part of our nature study just focused on discussing the different colors and sizes of the apples, and how the position on the tree affects the color and ripening of the apple.  We noticed the apples on the ground were often bruised, full of holes and rotten, compared to the apples on the tree.

"It's full of bugs!"

We picked up several wind-fallen apples to examine up close.  I discouraged the children from picking any healthy fruit off the trees for now, so they can continue to ripen.

Inside, we cut open our apples.  As suggested in The Handbook of Nature Study, I cut one apple along the core.

I cut another apple across the core, so we could see the "star" inside.

Elliott completed a life cycle of the apple page.

He also completed a generic "parts of the apple" craft.  I had some large die-cut shapes, so I gave each boy an apple.  They cut out the middle, and cut the core from off-white construction paper, using specialty scissors.  He drew on the seeds, and I printed off the words for him to label the parts of the apple.

Emory was thrilled to have his own activities.  He was actually asking for a picture of a forest to color (I don't really know why . . . ) so he was happy when I found this apple coloring page.  He worked diligently to color every single apple very slowly and carefully within the lines, then he filled in the leaves all around it!

He also decided that he didn't want to eat his apple, so he discarded the paper core and glued his apple back together.

Of course, we had to eat some apples too!

I can't wait until Autumn when we do our next Tree Study installments!

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  1. Great job everyone! What a fun, educational study you had there.

  2. I love this! I was thinking it might be cool to pick a tree to observe for the next year.