At the beginning of the summer we decided that we wanted to learn about plants and flowers. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you may remember that we decided to use the Apologia’s Botany book. Well, to make a long story short, it wasn’t for us. I think that it is geared for an older audience than what my kids are. It was too wordy or technical or something like that.
Since we were already on the flower quest and had decided to continue that for our summertime nature study, we were very thrilled when the Handbook of Nature Study blog released the ebook for studying garden flowers. This is a great and simple series of nature challenges. I highly recommend it. The ebook is very inexpensive. The depth of study was just perfect for us. Granted we didn’t learn a lot of latin terms, but we had fun playing with and learning about flowers. My kids have already decided that they want to do these challenges again next year. This is partly because, since we started them a ways into the summer, we weren’t able to do every single one. Anyway, if you’re looking to do some Botany with your family, check out the ebook here. By the way, you can find and look at the challenges for free on the Handbook of Nature Study blog, but the ebook comes with some really nice notebook pages to accompany the study.
Of course, the favorite thing for the kids out of these challenges was to grow flowers.
A close inspection of our Geranium plant.
We had quite a lot of fun looking closely at the flowers. Even my youngest really enjoyed learning about flowers.
An exciting addition to our study was a microscope. After quite a bit of consideration and researching, I purchased this stereo microscope from Tobin’s Lab. This is one of the neatest things we’ve ever got. I was a bit afraid that the kids would bore with it quickly, so I emailed Tammy at Tobin’s Lab and asked her if my kids were too young for a microscope. She recommended this one and said that people from 3 – 93 love this one. She’s right. We keep it out and look at all kinds of things, but we really enjoyed looking at the flower parts and the pollen with the microscope.
The kids looked at the plants through the microscope over and over.
Another fun thing we did was to soak beans and look at the cotyledon. My daughter liked to look at the bean through the magnifying glass. The rest of us just used our naked eye.
Learning about pollen was fun too. As per the instructions of the Garden Flower Challenges, we took Q’tips and gathered pollen with them and then rubbed the pollen on notebook pages to have a closer look.
You can’t really see the pollen in this picture, but it’s in the upper right hand corner. We also spent some time watching the bees–the master pollinators.
Then we did one plant experiment was not part of the challenges, because we’d seen somebody else do it and my kids were very intrigued by it.
We put various amounts of food coloring in the water for these white carnations and then waited to see what happened. You can see what happened: Our carnations began changing colors. We did notice that the carnations with the higher concentration of food coloring had a bit more red in them. And as for the green food coloring, we couldn’t see any green in that carnation.
And last but not least, we just really enjoyed the flowers around our house. Here are a few of my favorite shots.
We have hydrangeas all around our house. I love that they still have flowers on them, this late in the summer.
We have a whole row of these pink rhododendrons behind our house. When they’re in bloom, it’s like our patio is on fire.
We don’t have many azaleas, but we appreciate them, because they are the flowers that announce that summer is about here.
I should have posted about our flower studies as we did them, because we did so much more and I’ve got a long post now and don’t think I should add another thing. We sure did enjoy learning about flowers and we hope to cultivate even more flowers next summer than we did this summer. And don’t forget to check out the Garden Flower Ourdoor Hour Challenges.