The Finest Horse in Town was a beautiful study for Autumn. We spent quite a bit of time doing Nature Study with trees and changes that come with our Seasons. We also learned a bunch about horses.
I've documented some of our learning and fun below:
Some of the Usborne books we read with our study. (We love Usborne!)
Books about Trees that we used.
More books about Horses. Loved reading the tales from James Herriot's Animal Stories.
Trees, Trees, Trees!
For our study of trees, we really enjoyed going on as many nature walks as possible! For a good two weeks, I think we were out almost every afternoon just soaking in the Autumn sun and enjoying the beautiful colors. I can't possibly post all the photos from our walks here (the post would never end...) but here's a little peak -
Learning about Trees-
Learning about the parts of a tree and the various layers of bark.
Here we studied how the process of Photosynthesis relates to Autumn leaves. We learned why leaves change color and what triggers this change.
We created this map to display the diverse forest life in our country.
Coniferous and Deciduous Trees-
We spent quite a bit of time talking about the different types of trees. We went on several nature walks and identified various Coniferous and Deciduous trees and tried to name them/classify them. We also collected leaves and branches to sketch and study at home.
Venn Diagram of Coniferous vs. Deciduous Trees
Learning about Conifers and Pine Cones-
I found a great Science experiment that was fun and so easy to do. We first collected several pine cones on a nature walk in our neighborhood. The pine cones were damp as it had rained the night before. To show how pine cones open up and release seeds, we put them in the oven and actually baked them for several minutes. Once they were well heated, they opened up and it was easy to remove the tiny seeds. This was a great way to learn how Conifers release these seeds in nature.
Seeds, bark, leaves and berries from different trees-
The kids had fun making collections of various nature treasures and organizing and classifying them as they went. It's really neat to leave a Nature Table accessible to the children. They will stop and examine various objects several times a day. They can also use this as a place to sketch and use their magnifying glass, etc.
Taking a look at various types of bark and beautiful colors of a pile of Autumn leaves.
Studying Oak Trees and collecting Acorns-
We have a ton of Oak in our area. We spent an afternoon in a local park looking at and sketching various Oak Trees. It was a beautiful time of learning and exploring together. We even had pair of deer join us for a leisurely stroll through the woods!
Sketching an Acorn for our Nature Journal.
Collecting various acorns and leaves.
Studying the Black Walnut Tree-We have a massive Black Walnut Tree in our front yard. It provided us with many opportunities for learning and study. We spent several afternoons cleaning the falling Walnuts too! When we decided to profile a tree, we thought it made sense to profile the Black Walnut!
A sketch of a Black Walnut Tree, showing comparison to the size of an adult (Mom) standing under it. Also, on the left, Simon decided to show a close up of the shape of the leaves.
Profile of a Black Walnut - the leaf (taken from the front yard and laminated), the sketch of the tree, and a sketch of the seeds.
We were really blessed to be able to spend a day at a small orchard behind our family church. It was a great opportunity to study the trees, the apples, and the qualities of the orchard. What a beautiful afternoon picking apples!
Audrey, coloring for her Nature Journal.
Counting and sorting - I think we picked about 300!
Audrey's Nature Journal page of an Apple Tree (my sketch in on the left, hers is on the right). She sketched and colored while we were at the orchard.
Art Projects and Fun with Leaves
Top left - Learning to paint scenery with varying colors to show horizon (water color), Bottom Left - Audrey's drawing of a horse and her foal, Bottom Right - color variations using water color.
Leaf Pressing and Printing with paints.
Leaf Rubbing with crayons and pastels.
Preserving Leaves -
Preserving leaves using the old fashioned Wax Paper and Iron method.
Preserving leaves using the 'stick them in a book and close it' method. *wink*
Drawing Techniques - Layering
We used a great big bowl of apples to practice the technique of layering to show depth and dimension.
For this unit study, I really did choose to study far more about Autumn and Trees than about Horses. I did, however, read quite a few books to the children with themes related to horses and we completed a few worksheets and art projects to go along with our study.
A few links:
Forestry Matters (print out of the 'Parts of a Tree' page)
Thanks for reading, God Bless!