Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Fall Nature Hike

I've been waiting for a beautiful day to get the kids out for their Fall nature hike.  This day fit the bill!   I'm glad I didn't wait much longer because many of trees had already dropped their leaves.  After lunch, we worked our way out to the lake picking up pretty leaves along the way and also looking for birds, which there weren't many of.  We did see and hear ten Cedar Waxwings.  We also saw a cottontail rabbit, a squirrel, and the turtles on a log.  

As we walked out there I stopped by a puddle and asked them what color the water was. We decided it was clear and then when we got out to the lake, I asked them what color the water was and they noticed it was blue.  Then we discussed it and they learned the word "reflection".  I explained that the water only looks blue because it is reflecting the sky.  One girl was amazed and asked, "Do you know everything?"  Ha-ha!  That was so cute.

When we got to an area with lots of crickets and grasshoppers singing, I taught them how to make their hands like a cup and put it up to their ears to help them hear better.  They couldn't believe how much better they could hear the crickets.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  It is a birding trick that I thought seemed a bit silly the first time only to discover that it really does work. The kids got a lesson on how crickets sing by rubbing their wings together and they learned more about sound waves.  

We talk about a lot of things on these hikes:  
  • how to cross the streets and highways safely
  • not to go near peoples' dogs
  • not to go in peoples' yards and pick their flowers or pretty leaves off of their bushes
  • how to get along when going on a hike
  • what poison ivy looks like and why they should not pick those pretty red leaves!
When we returned to the classroom the kids emptied their bag of leaves and began to show me if they could sort by color and sort by shape.  This is a math standard that they have to know and we had done it during the first week of school using classroom materials.  They remembered how to do it and they loved it!

Gathering leaves helped make them more aware
of the beautiful trees in the area.

One of those turtles is not a Painted Turtle.  It is a 
False Map Turtle. They have a rough ridged shell and 
yellow "eyebrows".  I don't see them very often.  I found out 
that it is rare to see them away from the Missouri River.  They
are a natural heritage species for the state, which means they
are rare.  That is really neat that we have one at our lake.
The kids love the bridge!

Of course we had to go through the spooky forest!

They were not scared this time.

Here they are sneaking up on the turtles!

The Cedar Waxwings were atop the tall Cottonwood tree.

Here are the cuties!

Some of the trees were really pretty!

The leaf-sorting lesson was fun.

Some kiddos gathered a lot of leaves.

They kids were on task during the project and proud of 
their work!

They liked these huge Maple leaves!

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