I'm going to have a focus or back-up idea
After a while, I expect my son will become a pro at finding things to explore. But at first I picture him totally blank! So my plan is to have ideas in mind to "suggest" he focus on (ds will be 9 this fall but thinks he's going to be 20 like his brother :o)
The first thing I thought I'd suggest during nature walks (IF needed) is things we have learned about in MFW. For instance, in week 1 the 3rd grade PLL lesson is about moths. Or in week 2, ECC brings up trees and apples.
If I don't find something in the lesson to focus on, I have also found many topics online that we could study if I need to "lead him to discover."
Focus on the backyard:
Focus on a tree:
1. http://www.agriscience.msu.edu/specialp ... vities.doc
2. http://www.creativity-portal.com/howto/ ... ompts.html
4. http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/ce/eek/veg/t ... estart.htm
5. http://www.lessonplanspage.com/ScienceL ... ations.htm
(see "8. procedure" )
Other ideas over the year:
Garden planting & journaling
Study the course of the sun by shadow measuring over the year,
or follow star constellations through the sky if we walk in the evenings.
There are more good ideas on this thread:
Ideas: Nature Walks in ECC are all around us!
Update Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:50 pm
We did nature walks during ECC with a 3rd grader. Also, this was a boy who did not like to write, so take that into consideration.
Most of his identification at his age had to do with things actually in our yard. What kinds of trees do we have in the front yard? What kinds of bushes in the back? Which bloomed first, and which dropped its leaves first? No advanced horticulture or anything. Easy to look up from inside the house. Just sitting in the yard & realizing all of God's creation made for a special study of science. We finally figured out what kinds of trees we have. We noticed plants we hadn't ever paid attention to. We felt the breeze & heard the birds.
When we went to the nature center or to other places where we enjoyed nature walks, ds would draw interesting things, or draw the same scene at different times of year for comparison. The things he was noticing were things like how many animals were around, whether the acorns were empty because they had been eaten, and when the plants released their seeds. He also gradually noticed that some trees were gnarly while others were smooth (and gnarly is better for climbing!), and drew them more accurately. We collected leaves a couple of times, and either glued them on a page or rubbed their pattern onto paper, noticing the wide variety of leaf shapes.
I was all prepared with reference books and laminated charts (our local arboretum was a great source of local references), but I found ds just needed to learn to observe and appreciate at his age. I think when he does ECC again in 8th, after he has done the Animal and Botany studies, he may be ready for more depth.