Friday, May 8, 2009

This Week in Science

AnnaBeth and Rick have planted several trees this week -- 2 bare rooted evergreens from the Conservation Service, a couple of birch from Lowes, a redbud that they transplanted from one place to another in our backyard, and an althea that they transplanted.

There have been a variety of encounters with roots, what with all of the digging around and planting. So it seemed an appropriate time to read the book What Do Roots Do? by Kathleen Kudlinski. Nice illustrations and straight forward text gave us a chance to talk about the things she'd seen in the ground and attached to the plants.

I thought a great follow up would be to re-pot the pothos in the kitchen -- it's root bound and needs a new home. And we could take some cuttings while we were at it, which would be fun.

But instead, AnnaBeth produced a pinecone:

which she laid out on paper, watching the scales open and various stuff come out. Cool! I suggested she either take some photos or else make some drawings. Suddenly, our study of plants careened in a new direction -- conifers! I pulled out our copy of Keepers of Life by Caduto and Bruchac, and flipped to the section on conifers. We read and chatted, pondering sequoias, the 2-year development cycle of pine cones, and Fibonacci numbers. I think we're going to read some more books about sequoias once I can find some.

AnnaBeth has also spent time reading our copy of Garden Wizardry for Kids, which is a fun, fun book of information about common plants as well as simple projects and experiments.

In the meantime, Thalia has asked to also learn about Botany. She's finished up her latest Prentice-Hall Science Explorer, and has asked that we not use those again (no offense to anyone who likes them, but they seemed too elementary to her at this point -- she's ready for something with more oomph). We had planned on heading a different direction for her science, but she's been looking over what AnnaBeth has been doing and thought this would be a good time to learn more about this plants. Her study will be more disciplined -- I plan to actually figure out a logical sequence of study rather than flitting from seeds to roots to conifers.

We've wrapped up the week by watching a Bill Nye DVD on plants -- perfect for a rainy day.

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