Your Learning Connection | April 6, 2020 | Vol. 1, No. 3
A journal can be a place to write down our thoughts and feelings about what is happening in our lives. A nature journal can be a great place to take notes or make observations about what you see, hear, and feel as you explore outside. By adding sketches, descriptions, and mixed media to your nature notebook, you can find new ways to reflect on the natural world around you, even from inside your living room. Check out Nature Journal Instructions for directions on how to make your own nature journal. Or, for a different nature journal format, watch Big Fish Little Fish instructor Emily make her own nature notebook here:
Once you have created your own unique nature journal, it’s time to start filling it up! Check out these Nature Journal Prompts for some ideas on how to get started!
Remember, your nature journal is just for you! It doesn’t have to be beautiful, but instead should have great descriptions of the world around you, so that you can look back and see all of the great things you noticed, thought, and wondered about. For one parent’s first hand account of using nature journals with her children take a look at How We Montessori’s blog post.
Build a Boat Challenge
Boats are a very important means of transportation for humans. They help us to get from one place to another, transport goods, and they are essential for scientists exploring the ocean. Have you ever wondered how boats float? There are so many different types, sizes, and shapes of boats – from a single person kayak all the way up to huge barges that can carry hundreds of people. What characteristics make for a good boat? The buoyancy of a boat is its ability to stay afloat. But what makes a boat buoyant? In this challenge, you will create your own boat, and test out how much weight it can hold.
Now, try out our Build a Boat Challenge. What was your ideal boat design? Challenge your parents and friends with a boat build competition. Share your results and ultimate designs withEmma, SSC Program Coordinator, at [email protected] to be shared on our social media. Selfies encouraged!
It has been a wet week, at least here in New Hampshire, and all of our melted snow, rain, and warm days create a great environment to find one of the FBIs — fungus! Check out this video to learn more about FBI’s (Fungus, Bacteria, and Insects) and why they are important to our ecosystems.
Time for your nature challenge! If you can, head out on a woods walk to see what FBI’s you can find in your neighborhood forests. Remember to leave no trace when out in nature, and keep the woods the way you found them.
How many different colored fungi can you find? What is the biggest bug you see? How about the smallest? If you have a nature notebook, bring it with you and draw what you observe.
Just like when we tide pool on the rocky shore, try lifting up a rock and watching for a few seconds! By being patient and looking for movement we can find more insect friends. Remember to put the rock back when you are done peeking, and only touch what you know is safe.
Alternative Option: If you can’t head outside, go on an indoor nature hunt! Can you see any fungi from your window? Are any insects taking shelter in your house? You may even be able to find FBI’s in your refrigerator that are supposed to be there! Foods like yogurt and miso soup have bacteria that help you to digest food. Tip: Look for “Live Active Cultures” in the ingredients. To learn more about bacteria and other microbes in your body, take a look at Arizona State University’s Microbes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly virtual story.
Do you like to play hide and seek? Where are your favorite places to hide? Maybe behind a door or underneath a bed? Do you ever hide in plain sight? Many animals hide — or camouflage — in order to stay safe from predators or to hunt their prey. When you think of the word camouflage, you might think about chameleons that can change their appearance based on their surroundings, or a white arctic fox blending into the snow, but some of the best examples of camouflage can be found beneath the sea. Skates, lobsters, and other animals that stay on the bottom of the ocean have concealing coloration that help them to blend in. Henry, SSC’s Director of Programs, highlights the concealing coloration camouflage (can you say that three times fast?) of our resident skates in this video:
In addition to blending in, there are many other ways that animals can confuse predators and prey. Learn about the ways that animals use camouflage beneath the sea in Thom Smith’s seaside storytime below, featuring the book Ocean Hide and Seek, written by Jennifer Evans Kramer, illustrated by Gary R. Phillips, and published by Sylvan Dell Publishing.
Then, try out one of these activities below:
- Up for a challenge? Play a camouflage matching game to find out which hiding techniques some of our favorite sea creatures use! (Part One of Hide and Seek Lesson Plan)
- Feeling crafty instead? See if you can decorate your own lobster to hide in plain sight! (Part Two of Hide and Seek Lesson Plan)