|Joining Barb For The Outdoor Hour .|
Weather is almost an inexhaustible subject for nature study! There is always something different happening, especially this time of the year as we move from Autumn into Winter. At the moment in England, we are experiencing some VERY frosty weather. Yesterday we awoke to temperatures of -3 and everything covered in a delicate frosty white. By the early afternoon the frost had melted away as temperatures rose to just above freezing.
Today we awoke to temperatures of -6 (Celsius) and again a winter wonderland look. I decided that today we would set our books aside for a few hours and take a frosty walk and see natures artwork. We were delighted with the delicate crystals that surrounded each leaf, and that decorated every possible surface around us. Such beauty! Twice Miss J-L tried to bring a delicate work of art to show me and twice the ice crystals melted in a flash. We discussed how very fragile this beauty was and how we could only really admire it with our eyes.
As we walked towards the lake, we could see from afar that it was frozen. Not just the edges – the whole lake! The ducks sat on top of the ice and we watched a swan fly across the icy surface and come skidding to a stop not far from us. The poor thing’s feathers got stuck to the ice and held it captive for a while. However his persistence in struggling to free himself paid off and he was soon skimming across the frozen surface once again.
It must have been really cold during the night because the ice around the edges of the lake was thick enough to support the weight of Miss J-L! What fun.
Eventually my very frozen feet dictated that our walk was over and we headed back to our home. After grabbing something warm to drink, we set to working in our nature journals. As the girls recorded something of interest to them from their walk,
I read from one of my favourite nature books, Nature Smart, about how frost forms and what it is as well as why only the top of the lake was frozen. It made for interesting reading. We learned that the colder water gets it rises, freezes and floats. This defies the usual law of nature that says cold contacts, gets heavier and sinks and warm expands and rises. It obeys this law only until a certain temperature. Once it drops below this temperature it defies these usual laws and instead rises and freezes. The icy layer creates a sort of blanket which enables fish, frogs etc to move to the bottom of the lake and thus survive until spring.
We found a poem written by Robert Louise Stevenson called Winter Time of which we copied down the last verse onto our pages. We discussed how we could portray the delicate frost on paper. Miss J-L chose to outline her leaves in silver glitter and Miss V-L chose to use a silver gel pen. Both look lovely ;o)