Category Archives: Science

MMcC and DW – Taxonomy

MMcC had an assignment to look at the taxonomy of various creatures.  She and DW set to the task.  It was far tricker than they thought it would be.  Here is their result.

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Filed under Biology, DW, MMcC, Science

Why Books Smell Old

This is one of those things I’ve always wondered about. I had no idea that this is a matter for research. So cool.  While your pondering this, check out the science behind yellowing paper.

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April 22, 2012 · 10:11 PM

Botany has its own language

DW is working on learning how flowers attach to their stems. I might argue some of her choices and one of the photos – well you’ll have to guess what the flower is.  Go out and look around at the immense level of complexity in just this one aspect of botany:

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Filed under Botany, DW, Science

Across the Ages

We’ve just begun the great lesson of the Coming of Man with the younger guys.  This impressionistic lesson calls the children to recognize the uniqueness of man.  It speaks about the great gifts that man brings to the whole earth.  The chart sets the stage for the next drama in the story of the unfolding of the universe.

It also calls to the child the attention to the tiny amount of time that we have written records.  The upper elementary children were much more interested in the transition in prehistoric to historic.  We wondered what the first words were – numbers, pictographic images.

 

We’ve spent some time now researching the skull development and progression as well as tool advancements.  Today we are going to put them on a timeline and see how they overlap.  Friday we’ll bring maps into the game.

 

Meanwhile there is tons of discussion about early man because JV is spending lots of time reading, writing, and working with archaeological materials.

Here are a few of his working shots:

JV washing a piece of "his" pot.

It is a lot of washing.

A piece of his pottery cleaned.

 

Other artifacts including petrified wood.

 

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Filed under "Coming of Man", BW, DW, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, MMcC, Rock classification, Science, Students

Botany for BW

Today was our first day back.  I’ve been hoping that all of BW’s plants would hold off until he could see what they were up to.  Here is his botany in pictures.

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Filed under Botany, BW, gardening, Practical Life - Elementary, Science

Part 2 of our Field Trip

We stopped in Columbia on the way home to visit USC’s archaeology lab.  Here are some shots in the lab.  Josiah is working on an independent study project and I’m sworn to secrecy.

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Filed under AV, Geology, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, MMcC, Science, Students

Montessori and Botany – A Case

Rant to follow:

We’ve been looking at the Montessori Botany charts and the AMI Montessori Botany books and cards intently for about two months.  It was not an easy decision to do this because botany is not emphasized in any school that I have observed in nor was it encouraged in my training. BW will be entering a school next year where Botany will be set aside.

Consider the implications.

What is the most predominant color in your yard?  For most of us it is green.  Green from the chlorophyll in the plants.  It surrounds the child in his world every day.  Trees and bushes, flowers and veggies.  Grasses and weeds are all items that the child comes in contact with on a daily basis. (Or she should – that is another rant all together.)

What has a discernible life cycle that fits within the context of one year?

Plants do not require us to follow a multi-year pattern to observe the rhythms of life.  The buds come,  the leaves, the flowers, the fruit, the mature plant’s job is complete, it rests or dies.  We can communicate this rhythm easily even to the very young child.

It is small and great at the same time.

It requires a magnifying glass to look at the veins in the leaves and the stamens in the flower and the root hairs which nourish the whole plant.

It requires us to stand way back to measure how deep the roots go into the ground and how high into the air the plant grows.

It requires children to join hands to measure the girth of the tree.

It requires the most delicate touch to examine the parts of a seed and and the great strength to roll a log to see what uses the moist ground underneath as its home

It summons  the greatest of courage to climb into the tree’s limbs (and to come back down on their own) and the evokes the gift of nurturing as the tiny seeds push their way into this world.

It encourages personal responsibility for the food that the classroom may share and that enters our bodies.

Botany is wild and wonderful.  It is small and great.  It surrounds the child.  They must be given the chance to love their world and Botany is a whole giant slice that we are often overlooking to get to the animals.

As for us.  We began whole underwhelmed.  Now we measure our growing beans (which have just put forth fruit).  We’ve harvested our radishes.  We’ve cut open flowers.  Looked at symmetry. Measured the height of the Live Oak in the front and back yards.  Rubbed leaves.  Know about roots and types.  Eaten weeds from our yard -seriously really good. Worked up the courage to climb onto the shed roof to discuss how water moves through the plant.  And most importantly – we’ve become so much more attentive to the world in which we live.

Lessons:

  1. how to scientifically measure
  2. how to graph over time 
  3. how to use a scalpel
  4. parts of a plant cell
  5. parts of the flower
  6. parts of the roots
  7. parts of the stem
  8. vascular system of the plants
  9. nitrogen cycle
  10. periodic table symbols (more of them)
  11. shells of electrons (needed for ions and charged particles)
  12. how warm soil must be to grow veggies
  13. how to draw for science journals
  14. how to use secondary measurements and triangulation ratios to measure height of trees.
  15. how to harvest from nature
  16. hydroponics (and here)
  17. a few natural remedies for bites, bruises, and stings
  18. how water pressure works (and how it doesn’t)
  19. types of leaves
  20. types of leaf margins
  21. types of venation
  22. shapes of leaves
  23. parts of the leaf
  24. types of stems
  25. taxonomical divisions in plants – and why

All this and we are only on lesson 13 out of 26.

Previous thoughts on Botany here.

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Filed under AV, Botany, BW, DW, gardening, JV, MMcC, Practical Life - Elementary, Projects, Science, Students