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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Science : Botany - Trees

This post highlights snippets of what we did for the chapter on Trees apart from our usual read aloud and narration of our Botany book.

We wanted to find out more about heartwood and sapwood. We found this site (Wood Magic) with very clear explanation. In fact we completed a notebook page based on our read alouds through these pages.

I made a set of 3-part cards for Twig Anatomy while my boys made theirs on the new vocabulary for this chapter. I just could not find the time to prepare these before hand. I have decided to keep it simple; no fancy coloured borders, no printed words, no lamination. I just coloured the respective parts of the twig and wrote the name of the parts down!

We reviewed our old 3-part cards for flower anatomy because my boys have forgotten that. I needed them to know because this chapter introduced the concept of "imperfect flower". Cannot expect them to know what is an imperfect flower if they don't first know what is a perfect one. Just love these 3-part cards. They are so convenient to pull out for reviews whenever we need it.

I decided to teach my boys the shapes of tree crowns. Different websites use different terminologies so I thought I'd just introduced them all. (They can be seen mainly in these two pictures: 1 and 2)
1. round/spherical
2. oval
3. V-shaped/vase/funnel
4. cone/pyramidal
5. columnar/tube
6. spreading/umbrella
7. weeping
8. irregular
This post is long overdue. I had initially wanted to follow this chapter up with an Adopt a Tree project that would continue for at least a year. However, some circumstantial changes at home has caused me to think we might not be living here for that long. This has caused me to procrastinate for quite some time; and was tempted to abort the plan altogether.

My original plan was to observe an adopted tree (within our neighbourhood) regularly over at least a year to see if we can observe any growth change or patterns. I noticed that some trees flower only at certain times of the year and some even shed their leaves almost completely. I am not sure these cycles follow a strict time period, so I thought it would be nice to investigate.

I later decided to allow my boys to make their observations anyway. This would serve to review many of the concepts covered in previous chapters. The following observations were made of their adopted tree. These will also be the guidelines for any of our future tree study:
1. tree - shape, height, branching patterns, height of lowest branch,
2. trunk - girth, bark texture
3. leaf - shape, size, margins, venation
4. flower - colour, growth pattern, petal arrangement, predict pollinator
5. fruit - colour, type, predict dispersal mode

Visit Rumphius Science Webpage to learn more about how we approach Science in our homeschool.

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