Last week we studied conifer trees and pine cones – and porcupines! We started off by going on a pine cone and conifer tree hunt – and found that there are not huge areas of evergreens near us! Most of our hikes are through woods filled with oaks and hickory and walnut trees, but hardly a conifer to be seen. We did find one place that had a bunch, so we were able to get a few different pine cones at least, but we were never really able to do a big walk and work on identification. But that is ok, we have years for that!
I chose to focus on more hands-on type work for this particular study. I believe when you are studying nature, you should feel it and smell it and experience it. Except for when we got to the porcupine portion of our week, we didn’t need to experience that firsthand..
We started with a fun scientific investigation of pine cones, where Wyatt chose a particular pine cone, and did some observations and an hypothesis or two. Then we put the pine cone in water to see if if would sink or float, and also to see what would happen to the open pine cone. We looked very closely at one to see if we could find any seeds left inside, and we found one little seed, then discussed the life cycle of a Christmas tree. We also talked about the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and how that little owl was in it this year! Then we read a book about two cardinals in the same situation.
We discussed the parts of a pine cone, the parts of a pine tree, looked at features of different types of conifers, and then made our own little Christmas tree ornaments from twigs. They turned out so cute and individual! Wyatt’s is very patriotic, mine is traditional, and Billy’s is very fluffy. We also turned a few pine cones into peanut butter bird feeders, but the squirrels stole them immediately.
For our creature study this week, we did porcu”pines”! I think this turned out super cute! I cut out the template and had Wyatt snip the needles off the branches and glue them on. We talked about the similarities between the pine needles and a porcupine’s quills, and learned a few simple facts about porcupines. We also watched a video of a porcupine eating a pumpkin and it was super crazy! I will link it below. As always we do themed studies as a supplement to our regular curriculum.
This week we are exploring the world of The Nutcracker ballet- which I have learned from practically everyone in my family that they don’t like! Only Wyatt and I seem to like it. Lol. I figured Wyatt would, he loves music so much but I was shocked that it is not well liked in my family (mom, dad, husband, niece..) Oh well, some weeks turn out better than others!
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