Monday, September 26, 2011

Green and Growing - Session 1

This week the students learned about the basic tool of field scientists - observation. They became aware that sometimes we miss important details when only using our eyes, missing the smell of the Japanese Glorybower leaf or the texture of the fringecup leaves. As you notice leaves together this week, ask your child to describe the leaf’s texture, shape, edges, and thickness to you. If you don’t have time outside, try to explore your house using your senses with your kids - a field scientist can make observations anywhere! I have uploaded three observation forms to Google Docs that you can use with your young scientists:

  1. Leaf Observation.pdf - table to record sight, touch, hearing, and smell observations of leaves
  2. Leaf Observation Venn Diagram.pdf - compare and contract observations of two leaves
  3. Observation game.pdf - similar to the ‘phone call’ game played in class; use descriptive language to get your partner to match your pattern

The students also heard the story of Dr. Geerat Vermeij, a man who was blind by the age of four and is now a world-renowned professor of marine ecology and paleobiology through his study of shells using mostly his sense of touch. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Vermeji you can find his biography ‘Privileged Hands: A Scientific Life’ at the local library or go to this kid-friendly site:

Next week we be walking to Stephen’s Creek Natural Area for our first outdoor field study. We will go rain or shine so please have your child dress appropriately. They will be learning to identify native plants, which ones produce nuts/fruit that are safe to eat, and which ones not to touch!

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