We visited two parks located more than 10 miles apart during our first two weeks of our project.. After creating Nature Discovery Journals, the search began. A thorough search of tree roots, bark, grasses, a huge garden with dozens of varieties of blooming plants and around the ponds, ladybugs remain lost, We are wondering if the weather is still too cool for them to come out.
Nature Detectives found feathers, Canada Geese footprints and their scat (poop) seed pods, grasshoppers, ants, a hawk soaring through the air. These joyful “in the moment” discovery experiences and playful learning are the foundation of what Nature Detectives is all about. Give them direction and let them go. They problem solve on their own, form teams around their shared interests and have FUN without even knowing they are building skills at the same time. .
Emily spotted the hawk and pointed to the sky as she shouted, ‘A hawk! A hawk!” She often shouted, “You guys! You guys! Come over. Look what I found!” and Nature Detectives sped to her side. On our second day she found a broken bird’s egg that baby and mama discarded.
Juliana and Amelia found letter shapes in many places throughout the park. A “J” from a pattern of leaves, and an “X” where sticks and branches crossed over represent two sites they pointed out. Roots of a tree formed a “W”. Both captured their observations in Nature Discovery Journals.
Zephyr our preschool Nature Detective was testing a scientific theory looking for a specific object in the tree. He found evidence of what he was looking for and proved his theory. He found the smallest creatures – a grasshopper with red markings and a tiny red ant crawling on bark.
When Juliana and Amelia dug deep into a five foot high and eight foot wide pile of dirt, Juliana noticed it was sticky and soft. Amelia discovered the soil on the outer edge of the pile was warmer than the soil in the middle. She speculated that the sun warmed the outer ends of the pile first because they were more shallow because of the sloping shape of the dirt.
Lisette found tube shaped white flowers still moist with morning dew. She reached her finger inside. When she pulled it out, her finger was covered with tiny white beads of pollen.
She drew flowers with red blooms and other with white blooms in her Discovery Journal. She noticed the many shapes in the garden – feeling each one to learn some were soft, some bumpy, and others had spikes. Lisette called out several times that morning, “Ms. Jan. Ms Jan, come see what I found.”
The garden we visited during our second week was a treasure chest of Spring blooms and colors. Round shapes, pointed leaves, some lacey plants that bent their branches into soft hooks. Other plants looked like an octopus extending its tentacles. Nature Detectives discovered a cave with even more intriguing objects to explore.