Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nature Study: Trees

This month we began a Nature study on trees and included it in our our a thematic unit on Fall. Last year in the Fall we spent some time on tree leaf identification of the trees that grow by our home.

We will be observing a Live Oak tree that grows next to our patio garden. We’ll be looking at how the tree changes from season to season and hoping year by year.

We are observing the leaves, bark, acorns, the creatures that live in and around this tree as well as any changes we see from the last time we observed the tree. He is using a tree journal to write observations about the Live Oak tree.

My youngest son chose his own way of doing a nature study of this tree. He painted his view of the bark of our Live Oak tree. I liked the texture that he created with the brush. I was impressed! Together we made an art poster from his artwork and added Autumn leaves that we painted.
The leaves we painted and glued to our tree were the tyoe of leaves that grow on a Live Oak tree. My son wanted add some other type of leaves and place them to appear as flying in the wind.
We used acrylic paint and mixes colors of yellow, red, orange, green and brown. He painted his leaves on copy paper and after drying, we cut them out. It is hanging on our interior front door and this week we are still adding more and more leaves.

On Wednesday we went to pick pumpkins at a local church pumpkin patch. The leaves of this tree are the largest we have seen. The leaves are about 10 to 12 inches in length and the fall colors on each leaf are rustic brown to with a little tint of orange in the stems and veins. The leaves have rounded lobes.

After we picked our pumpkins and gourds, my youngest son and I gathered several of the fallen leaves to use for a leaf collection and for decoration in the home. The acorns are very large, about ¾ to 1½ inches long. Each acorn is almost round with a bur or moss-like, fringed cup covering half or more of the acorn.

We took a few pictures of the tree. We knew it was an Oak tree but what threw us off was the fact that the tree’s trunk is thinner than the oak trees around our neighborhood. My oldest son was interested in looking through our book to find out what type of Oak tree is was.

We went a few of our favorite books on trees and their leaves:
Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins

The book that helped us identify the leaf was Peterson First Guides: Trees by George A. Petrides. In the book on page 76, we found out we had the leaves of a Bur (Mossycup) Oak. The illustration of the acorn helped us make a correct match. We read that these trees are originally from the Midwest but are tolerant of the conditions in Texas.

We saved several of the leaves we collected and place them in a large book to press. I am hoping I can frame them to remind us of this beautiful majestic tree and the great time we had as a family.
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Raising a Happy Child said...

It's a great nature study. Turtle did an awesome job of painting his oak tree!

SANDRA said...

Thank you, I will let him know what you said. He likes to hear feedback on his art. :-)

welcome to our wonderland said...

we are doing trees this week I did a post about it.

I have 2 giveaways you might be interested in going on right now.