In late September, our neck of the woods became a flame of brilliant colors. The green on the leaves gave way to orange, red, and yellow. Naturally, this made for a great place to start in our year-long nature study.
We used All About Trees by Jane Dickinson as our core resource and filled in with a few library resources and field guides.
In addition to reading, we conducted two major activities.
When they began kindergarten, each of my kids was given a notebook with which to journal our science studies. During our tree unit, they used these notebooks to chronicle our discoveries. We took a nature walk every other day...sometimes they were long treks through the woods (Like our Natural Start to Nature Study) and other times, they were quick jaunts around our block. Each time, we gathered a handful of leaves from various trees, brought them back home, and used Identify a Tree, an easy-to-use on-line field guide, to help us identify the type of tree.
For the deciduous trees, the kids made leaf rubbings in their science journals and then labeled the leaf with the following information:
- the date
- the name of the tree
- the location of the tree
- the color of the leaf (As the weeks went by, they were able to see how slowly or quickly certain types of leaves change color.)
We joined a nature club this year that meets together about once-a-month to intentionally focus on a nature topic. It just so happened that in the midst of our tree unit, one of the families in the club hosted a wonderful woods walk. The kids came home with a whole bag of unusual leaves and filled page after page in their journals.
Along with our science journals, both of my two older kids completed a tree-themed lapbook from resources I was able to find on Homeschool Share. Because they are not the same age or at the same learning level, my older daughter was assigned more writing projects within the lapbook, while my younger son only had a few.
We made our covers during an afternoon art project. We roughly painted a trunk onto art paper and used Q-tips dipped in various fall colors to stipple "leaves" onto the branches.
The mini books inside the lapbook are as follows:
- All About Roots- a brief paragraph explaining the job of the tree roots
- a small accordion-style book with drawings of a tree at each season
- Interesting Facts- an notebook wheel of interesting information they learned during our studies
- a Venn diagram book listing the similarities and differences of coniferous and deciduous trees
- How We Use Trees- a fold out book that shows how different people groups down through history have used trees
- a pictorial book showing how a branch changes each season
- New Words- an accordion book listing new vocabulary words/definitions they learned
For more ideas to incorporate into a tree study, be sure to check out my Tree Unit Pinterest Board.
Since all of our deciduous trees have prepped for winter by shedding the last of their leaves, it is time to move on to ANIMALS.