Nature study is an excellent tool for making science real and practical. We lean towards doing impromptu nature study while we are already enjoying the outdoors.
This month, I thought I would share with you all three reasons we do nature study in the winter. I’m not opposed to doing nature study in the other seasons, in fact we have impromptu nature study times year round. Rather, I want to highlight why nature study is still viable despite the cooler temperature.
3 REASONS WE DO NATURE STUDY IN THE WINTER
Of course, taking a look at the evergreen plant is an excellent winter nature study idea. I would like to share three other reasons to get out and brave the cold.
#1 – YOU CAN STUDY ICE.
Often it is cold enough in the winter for the water outdoors to freeze, which means you have plenty of ice to study! You can look at when the ice freezes and how the ice appears to take up more room than the water did.
You can look at the destructive power of ice by watching the freeze-thaw cycle in action. You can see how salt affects the ice. As the winter comes to a close, you can examine how quickly the ice melts and where all that water goes.
You have to deal with the freezing temps to study ice, but it is worth see the solid state of water up close and personal.
#2 – YOU CAN EASILY SEE LICHENS.
Lichen is amazing example of a living biological partnership between a fungus and a bacteria. The fungus protects the bacteria underneath and the bacteria provides the fungus with the food it needs to grow.
With most of the foliage gone it is much easier to find patches of lichens on the tree trunks. Most of these patches are crustose lichen, but you may find some foliose lichen as well.
You can also examine fallen branches on the forest floor as well as rocks. Both of these usually contain one or more of the three different types of lichens.
#3 – YOU CAN EXAMINE ROCKS CLOSE UP.
With no flowers and few leaves to study in the winter, rocks make a perfect winter nature study subject. You can hunt for the three major types of rock in your backyard.
You can compare the different colors and discuss the minerals that in the rocks that produced the color. For example, copper in a rock might cause it to have a blue or green hue. Iron can cause a dark red or brown tint, while manganese can cause the rock to be pinkish.
However you choose to study rocks, they are plentiful and accessible during the winter months.
Winter is still a great time to get outdoors and find science in action! You can avoid the bugs and crowds as you learn about science. So, be one of the few who hits the trails this winter to soak up the ice, rocks, and lichens.
This article was written by our author,Paige Hudson. You can also find her mixing up solutions for homeschool science atElemental Blogging. If you want to receive more articles just like this, plus our monthly discounts, sign up for our newsletter in the box below orclick here.