Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 27 - 2016-17 Edition - Retzer Nature Visit #6 - Nature Wakes Up

Our good friends from the Retzer Nature Center came to our school's outdoor learning time for the fourth and final time this year to investigate spring waking up.

The day began with a review of the life cycle and an introduction to how nature "wakes up" in spring. We talked specifically about flowers, their purpose, their parts, and their interactions with bees and butterflies.

After talking about flowers and the process of pollination, we acted it out. Several students were given the role of various plant parts and a "bee" came to collect nectar and in turn pollinated other flowers.

We then dissected a lily to have a real life sensory experience with the parts of a flower.

After finishing up with flowers, we went to the classroom to hear the story Fran's Flower by Lisa Bruce. This book reminded us of all the things a plant would need to survive.

We also reconnected with the bullfrog and African clawed frog tadpoles we met last month. The progress on their transformation into adult frogs was very evident.

Time to head outside! We were greeted by a small flock of turkey vultures.Upon further inspection, we saw a few turkey vultures perched among some of our oak trees.

After checking out our new bird friends, we headed into our wooded are in search of the perfect spot to place some birdhouses.

We hung six colorful bird feeders at various spots I the land before using a clipboard and sheet to search for signs of spring. One of our first finds wasn't even on the list: garlic mustard. I was very happy to see my class instantly work together to take out this invasive plant.

Along the way, we had to stop to play. :)

We found many signs of spring, but once the afternoon hit, I felt that my kids still needed to find more. So, while they were at a special, I went back to the woods and hid eggs. Of course, these eggs were not filled with candy, but with math number sentences that the students had created the day before.

Now, I was on paternity leave during April Fool's Day, so I decided to have a little fun with the kids. They knew I would be hiding eggs, so when they came back from their special, I have them two minutes to find eggs. Needless to say, they didn't find any. They told me I was the "best hider ever." While I enjoyed this compliment, I spilled the beans and told them about my trick. They enjoyed it, but were more excited once I told them I had hid the eggs outside.

To the woods we went to find our math eggs.

All eggs were found and brought back to the grass class to "crack" open and complete the math problems inside. Completed math problems led to a sweet treat when back inside.

We enjoyed a marvelous day with Mother Nature. With spring here, I think we will be seeing Mother Nature much, much more.

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