During the autumn the attention of the children should be attracted to the leaves by their gorgeous colors. ~ Anna Botsford Comstock, ‘The Handbook of Nature Study’ pg 622
For the past week or so we have noticed a yellow hue to the trees in our garden. All of a sudden (or so it seems) yesterday there were distinct patches of yellow within our tree that were not there on Wednesday – honest 🙂
Around our village some trees are turning before others. Some keep to yellow hues while a few are showing reds coming through – oh my! How I relish this season.
I asked the girls if they remembered why the leaves change colours and I got half an answer. This told me that they are not clearly understanding the chemistry of why leaves change colour. Now I’m really not a chemistry buff but thankfully there are very clever people who have written books and made wonderful YouTube videos explaining the wonders of this natural annual occurrence.
My focus for this lesson was Lesson 172 in Anna Botsford Comstocks ‘The Handbook of Nature Study’. We are embarking on a year long tree study as advocated by Charlotte Mason. We have a spectacular tree in our garden that creates quite a picture from our schoolroom. Autumn is a lovely time to start a year long tree study. We begin with watching the leaves slowly change colour, in our home today we started off our lesson watching this video that is aimed at older students and focusing more on the chemistry rather than a shortened explanation which is suited to younger learners.
After we watched the video together we had a brief discussion so that I could make sure that they understood what had been said. We discussed our year-long study of our tree and some ideas that I had for this study. One of those ideas which has been milling about in my head has been to photograph our tree each season so that we can put all our photographs together at the end of our year and remember what it looked like throughout the year.
For our autumn focus we are going to do the same sort of photographic challenge. As suggested in The Handbook, we have noted the first day that we noticed the leaves on our tree changing. Each week we will take a photograph of our tree right up to the point when all the leaves have fallen. We will also note down this date. We will be able to see from start to finish how long it took for our tree to change and loose it’s leaves. I’ve created a seasonal tree study board on Pinterest to track out changes.
We need to identify this tree soon. I’ve had a look at my field guide but sometimes it’s not as easy as it looks!
I’m thinking that it might be part of the birch family? If you know please do leave a comment, I would appreciate any insight you may have to offer.
Anyhoo, that wraps up this weeks nature study, wishing you a wonderful weekend.