Sunday, March 9, 2008
Green Hour Challenge week 4
After checking out Barb's site for this week's Green Hour Challenge, I was feeling a little intimidated. Here is what she has listed for step two:
2. I am going to suggest that you pick a focus area for your nature study. Taking into account what you have close at hand, what season it is, and your child’s interest, look through the table of contents in the Handbook of Nature Study and pick one section that you will focus on for the next six to eight weeks. It might be a good time to study garden flowers (bulbs), wildflowers, birds, or trees if it is already warm in your area. If you still have lots of snow, you could focus on mammals, birds, or water forms. (For suggested nature study rotations using the Handbook of Nature Study, see the Ambleside Online’s nature study page for ideas. http://amblesideonline.org/NatureSch.shtml) If you have chosen a focus area, turn to the introductory page for that section and take the time to read just that page in the Handbook of Nature Study.
My first thought was, "Don't drop me! I'm not ready!" How in the world was I suppose to go about picking a topic and then spending the next six to eight weeks on it? What kind of resources was I going to use? What happened to just being outside looking at things?
Then I remembered a conversation I had this morning with the boys.
"Mom, look at that nest up in the "R" (we were at Toys R Us)" Thane pointed out. "I think they might be sparrows. I like sparrows. Oh, and cardinals."
I answered, "Cardinals are my favorite too. I also like to watch the finches and the Carolina Chickadees that come to our feeder."
"Mom," Magnus was piping in, "I think those are Mountain Chickadees. I looked in our book."
"Well, we'll just have to check that out further." I said.
...I just checked and I think we were both wrong. Looks like it is actually a Black Capped Chickadee.
Anyhow, that is the topic we are going to concentrate on...Birds. I LOVE birds and the boys appreciate them as well. I enjoy watching them and listening to them. Hopefully by the end of the study, I'll be able to identify more of them.
Here are some of the books I already own that I plan on using to "beef" up our study...
My parents gave me this book for my birthday. I love it! The boys and I have already spent hours reading through it and listening to the different bird songs. I highly recommend this book if you plan to do a study on birds. (I can't figure out how to get the picture to link to the information but you can click here and it will take you to the Amazon link.)
This is a great beginner's guide to identifying birds. I like the way it is set up. You look up the bird by it's main color. Then it has it's description, habitat, nesting habits, a map of the states it is found in, and tips on how to attract them. Click here to get to the Amazon link.
Love, love, love Thornton Burgess Books! He has such a gentle way of weaving in factual information into a fictional story. I plan on using this to study about specific birds. You can read the book in it's entirety here. Just scroll down beyond the picture and you can click on the individual chapters.
Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers are great for the kids to read on their own. This particular volume has stories on owls, robins, and hummingbirds. Here is the link at Amazon.
As far as activities go, this will give me a great excuse to set up the bird habitat I have been wanting. We already have a feeder, that a resident squirrel also enjoys, and a couple other feeders the boys made. At the request of my oldest, I am going to buy a hummingbird feeder. I hope to make some sort of bird bath and some bird houses. We may even buy different bird seed, right now we just use sunflower seed-which our resident skunk also enjoys, to see about attracting different kids of birds. We will also draw and record the different birds we see and what we learn about them. I'm going to do some looking into this book that has been sitting on my shelf crying, "Read me! Read me!"
Here are some great websites that are full of information...
All About Birds
Bird Watcher's Digest
Bird Songs Actual recordings of birds!
Bird Perch Links to other bird sites
Project Feeder Watch Resources and Lesson plans for keeping track of birds that visit your feeder. Be sure to download the Homeschooler's Guide to Feeder Watch. I think it is too late in the year to participate, but the lesson plans are awesome!
Birding for Kids A Squidoo lens with great information
American Birding Association
National Environmental Education Week
This post isn't my "official" Green Hour Challenge week 4 post. I just got so excited and wanted to share with you what we are planning to study. I will post later about our actual "challenge" time outdoors. I hope you will follow along on our journey as we discover the wonderful world of birds. "Tweet, tweet!"