Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Science Corner: How does nature study fit in?

So where does nature study fit into a science education? Easy, nature study can be the core of your science education or it can just be the icing on the cake. Either way, there is so much to learn from the outdoors (and the indoors).

What is nature study?

It's the study of the plants and animals around you, which can be found both inside and outside your home. This makes nature study very accessible!

How do I do nature study?

Nature study can be as simple as, "Hey kids look at this caterpillar I just found on the driveway. You see the way he walks along my hand. What does he feel like to you? Do you want to put him in a jar and go look him up on the internet to find out what kind of caterpillar he is?" You can take it a step further and try to "hatch" you caterpillar into a butterfly or moth. The idea is to introduce your children to the nature around them and spark their desire to learn more. Your kids will learn so much from this type of study.

You can also use the Handbook of Nature Study to help guide your nature study time. This valuable resource has information that is written to the parent, so keep that in mind! It provides backround information about a topic and some relevant questions to use to guide the nature study time. Barb at Harmony Art Mom has put together a wonderful guide on how to get started with this book. She has also hosts the outdoor hour challenge which give you topics to focus on and how to go about doing accomplishing those nature studies. You can access all this information at her blog. I highly reccommend that you take a look as it will be well worth your time!

When do I do nature study?

Nature study can be a scheduled part of your week. In the past we have set aside one day for nature study and a library trip, that way we have plenty of time to explore both! You can also make nature study a part of your life. Take the time to take advantage of the crazy things you run across, like snails in a house plant, carrots sprouting in your fridge or the bugs crawling on the milkweed pod you pass while out on a walk.

Some of our best memories of our study of science have been during our nature study time. So, whether you chose for nature study to enhance your science curriculum or whether you choose nature study to be the core of your science education, you can't go wrong!


Jimmie said...

Absolutely. Our times with nature are wonderfully refreshing as well as a great way to study REAL science.

Amy said...

Seeing it from this perspective makes me realize we do more nature study than I was giving us credit for. We love to enjoy the outdoors, observe what we see around us and look up the names and habits of different critters and plants.

Ticia said...

I love the idea of nature study, and now I just have to figure out how I want to fit it into our study style.

Kristenph said...

Not too long ago I wrote a post about how we "unschool" nature study. We don't do much (read any) formal nature study, but we do a lot of informal. Great post. I'm going to have to explore your science curr. more thoroughly. Looks like something we would like.