Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nature Study for kinesthetic learners

Kinetic Learners do well with hands-on activities and experiments, art projects, nature walks and acting out stories. This is my little one. She needs to touch and feel everything, she loves making up stories and songs, and loves doing nature, science and art projects. She loves her music class and her nature classes. In her music class, she is most involved and present for lap rides, movement around the class with scarves, changing the words to familiar songs, and parachute play.

As her music class has ended, I will get together some songs, verses, and fingerplays for a little circle time with her. I also think a nature study will be great for her age - almost 5. To get started, we will pack up some field guides focusing on local trees, birds, insects and wildflowers. Also, we'll pack up some pencils, a sketch pad, some containers and head out for a nature walk. We'll take notes of anything that interests us and make home a specimen to observe more closely. At home, we could find more about the specimen.

Here are some other suggestions:
  1. Information from first-hand observation the child has done themselves (not things they've learned from "teaching" or in the classroom).
  2. Drawings of leaves, flowers, birds, insects or anything else discovered by the child in it's natural setting.
  3. Labels for their drawings---both English and Latin names if applicable.
  4. Notations on where the object was found.
  5. Notations about the temperature or weather conditions, dates, etc.
  6. Life cycles of plants. Draw the bare tree in Winter; the Spring buds; the Summer blooms; the Fall colors and seed pods. Or in a backyard garden you could draw a seed; draw the sprouting seedling; draw the full grown plant; draw the stem, leaves, flower, etc.; draw the fruit, vegetable or flower; draw the new seeds for starting the cycle again.
  7. Draw and describe an ant hill or a bee's nest.
  8. Take out a hand-held high-power magnifying glass and draw the intricate details of a bee's wing, or whatever else might be fascinating viewed through a magnifying lens.
  9. Science experiments the child has actually performed. Set-up, observations, results, etc.
  10. Pressing and mounting leaves or dried flowers.
  11. Samples of different types of leaves: divided, heart-shaped, fluted, needles, etc.
  12. Samples or drawings of different types of seeds: nuts; seed pods; seeds that fall to the ground; seeds that float through the air; etc.
  13. Parts of the flower: petal, sepal, stamen, etc.
  14. Sketches of animal tracks.
  15. Sketches of the life cycles of animals. Caterpillar to cocoon (or chrysalis) to moth (or butterfly); or egg to tadpole to frog (or salamander).
  16. Nature-related poems or quotes. The poems can be ones found during the child's reading time, or poems composed by the child.
  17. Expand your study to cloud observation and cloud type, astronomy, star gazing at night, storms, soil, rocks, and weather patterns, etc.
  18. In Winter months, look at weather, rocks, evergreens, birch & cedar trees, abandoned bird's nest, dry plants and weeds, tracking and identifying animals by their prints, and watching the place of the sunset move as the days shortened.
Off to scout out some books.

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