Saturday, November 29, 2014

Science Lessons Walking Through the Snowy Woods

As we were walking through the snowy, cold New England woods I was struck by how much science we were doing as we were walking, talking, and observing. 

We found so many animal tracks in the snow.  We have just an inch or so of snow, enough for a nice coverage of the ground without it being so deep that the tracks were buried or hard to find.



We saw turkey tracks, deer tracks, and what Alec believed to be fox prints.  My husband thought they might be raccoon prints instead and Alec told us that the "fingers" weren't long enough and that raccoons have long fingers more like a human hand but skinnier and with claws on the ends.  He pointed out that the fox prints were more like a small dog, small coyote, or small wolf but since they were so small and not very deep in the snow they had to be a foxes.

They had great fun following the tracks in the snow to see where they led and we found a nice big tree with lots of leaves under it that we believe is probably the home to the deer.

We looked up fox prints and raccoon prints on the computer once we got home and we all conceded that Alec was right and we most likely saw fox prints. 

My husband was teaching us a bit about the different kinds of trees.  He pointed out pine trees, red cedar trees (which he encouraged the boys to smell a piece of), spruce trees and even maple trees.

Alec found a stick with what looked like frozen/ crystallized sap on it that he wanted to bring home. We thought it was a maple branch and probably maple sap.


We talked about how much sap  you need to make even just a little bit of syrup and reminded the boys about our trip to the maple sugar house.

Once home Alec really wanted to try and melt all the sap together and then re-freeze it. He used a small knife to scrape all the sap off the branch and set it near our wood stove to melt.  He told me at lunch that he was pretty sure it was not sap at all.

The blob (as he calls it) did not melt at all but started to dry out and shrivel up.  He's beginning to think it's some sort of fungus or mushroom. 

We'll be looking that up later after he pokes and prods at it some more.  Such a wonderful way to learn about the world around us.

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6 comments :

  1. So much to see and learn when we look around. Beautiful photos, I especially like the snow one.Thanks for sharing at The Wednesday Blog Hop :)

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  2. Sounds like a lovely day ♥️

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  3. I'm always amazed by all the learning opportunities we have in the world around us. I have admired how my own homeschooling kids take advantage of them.

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    1. Me too; just when I think we've learned/ seen it all there's always something new.

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