The Nature Connection: September Tree Study

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We started our year long nature study this week, using the book The Nature Connection as a spine. I am SO excited about this book. I *was* using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding as a spine, but I only have it in PDF form, and while it is pretty good, it isn’t user friendly. The Nature Connection has been on my shelf all summer, and it wasn’t until I sat down to outline it, that I realized it would be awesome as a year long science curriculum.

I matched it up to the “standard” scope and sequence for first grade science, and this will more than cover them, as long as we add in the research behind the projects. (For example, when Nature Connection has us learning about the different shapes of bird beaks, we will also learn about omnivores, carnivores, and herbivores). All I needed to add were a few science encyclopedias, and a few field guides, and we are all set for a fantastic year outdoors.

One of the ongoing projects we will do this year is an in depth study of a tree. I let each of the boys choose a tree for us to watch. Today, we went outside and took a close look at it. We want to see how it will grow and change over a year, as well as learn more about who calls the tree “home”.

Meet our Trees:

Tree #1

(The little guy in front)

He has little red berries this time of year.

Tree #2

This one is HUGE!

He has these little red bugs calling him home. The kids have been calling them Love Bugs, but we learned today that they are “Fire Bugs”. We’re going to learn more about them this week if we can find the info at the library.

As of right now, I have no idea what kind of trees these even ARE, and I have been walking under tree #2 every day, and have never noticed the bugs all over it. So far, I have not had luck with google to identify them, so we’ll be heading to the library tomorrow for European field guides. If you know, please fill me in!

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  1. I will have to look into this book. I am using BFSU and loving it. I am fleshing it out a bit to make the B thread+related lessons from other threads last for a full year. I love the idea of following a tree for a year!

    1. It’s really inexpensive on Amazon, and I’m in the process of trying to line up BFSU lessons with the activities listed in Nature Connection. It’s broken down by month, so in september, there are suggested activities and topics to be covered. I figure I can flesh them out with BFSU and encyclopedias.

  2. Your pictures are beautiful! I love the idea of watching a tree for a year. I am teaching botany 2 days a week to third graders this year. And my 5th grader is taking botany at homeschool enrichment as well. Does the book give you specific things to observe and record about the tree? I’m looking forward to reading more about your project. Enjoy discovery with your children!

    1. It talks about looking for things that live in it/near it, looking at how the branches come out of it, checking out the leaves and the bark, and watching it during the seasons. It also talks about the sun, moon, stars, rocks, animals…. SO much. I LOVE it.

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