things to do when I get back…

On September 27th, I wrote:

This post about botany books is really inspiring. I see a book order in my future.

Today, I was thinking about teaching science and went back to have a look. While checking out the links, I also glanced at that "customers who bought this also bought…" link. I found some things that look very promising indeed.

The Botany Colouring Book, though it says it isn’t for children, looks like a very interesting approach to teaching about plant biology and classification. The table of contents looks very thorough. I don’t think we’d do the whole thing, but I suspect that selected topics could be covered quite nicely and the detailed colouring pages might really help cement learning. Tigger really likes to draw or something while I read to her, so this might be a good companion to something that I could read aloud to her. It seems to include things like black bread mold in the section on fungi. I suspect that there are all kinds of interesting home experiments that could be done. 🙂

I also found Practical Science for Gardeners which seems to include information on chemistry as well as botany. I have been thinking that tying in some of our science education to gardening might be a good idea. Mat did some of this last year, having the children test soil samples and talking a bit about soil and its function in the garden. And given Theresa’s recommendation that we shouldn’t artificially separate the sciences because they inevitably turn up together, it seems to me that focusing on a topic like "garden plants" provides a structure that enables you to explore various aspects of biology and chemistry in a sensible way. I’m not sure this particular book is what I need for that. But it is one that addresses chemistry in the context of plants in any case.

Then I started surfing a bit to see if there were any experiments about plant chemistry. I’m going to have to look at this page again in more detail. And maybe look for some more. Right now, I should probably go to bed. But before I go, I’ll give you my rough outline for the plant study.

  • Review of parts of plants
  • Classification (using maybe the books recommended in that very first link)
  • Cells (maybe with some use of a microscope)
  • chemicals in soil and air
  • Nutrition and growth — photosynthesis as chemical process
  • death and decay — chemical processes; the role of other organisms
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4 thoughts on “things to do when I get back…

  1. I will have some time later this week and will send you along an email with links and such that we used in our botany study last year. It was such a great study for the winter spring, especially if you add seed starting, gardening aspects to the study. Order some heirloom tomatoes etc to start from seed..Mat’s will be in his glory!

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  2. And you can tie the Fibonacci numbers and nature (shells and so much more) into Fib poetry, which is fun to write.

    What’s fun about science in general, and with your botany studies in particular, especially if you use Elpel’s “Botany in a Day” book (I don’t know his children’s book but it looks good), is how much botany/nature depend on patterns. We were just reading the children’s book on Mendel and his peas, and again math and patterns figured into it. It helps kids to understand the practical applications of subjects such as math and science, and as you mention about not separating the disciplines, finding where they connect. And it’s nice for seeing the practical purposes of Latin, too, with how plants are named.

    I think I have a book called something like “Botany for Gardeners” on the shelf somewhere, too, that I like very much.

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