Nature Study:One Year Pond Study: Week 3 – Spring Tree Study

It was wet and overcast this week at the pond
It was wet and overcast this week at the pond.  The rain was coming down quite heavily.

For the rest of the series please click:

Plans for a one year pond study

Week One

Week Two

My mum once again accompanied us to the pond, a fact I was very grateful for as pond study doesn’t seem to be holding the little ones’ attention.  Imagine that.  This week we decided to familiarise ourselves with our chosen tree.  Here were our goals:

  • Take a photo of the tree
  • Do a bark rubbing for our nature journal
  • Measure the circumference and height of the tree and make a note of them at the back of our journal
  • Identify any plant in symbiosis with the tree
  • Attempt to identify the tree

First though, here are some photos of the wildlife seen last Monday:

We saw Mallard ducks...
We saw Mallard ducks…
...gulls...
…gulls…
 ..moor hens..
..moor hens..
And for the first time this year a pair of Canada Geese
And for the first time this year a pair of Canada Geese

This week we weren’t there for the wildlife alone.  We wanted to know what tree we had decided to study:

There it, behind the cars
There it, behind the cars

I still didn’t have the foggiest clue.  We began with a bark rubbing:

The children doing a rather wet bark rubbing
The children doing a rather wet bark rubbing
We used two sheets of paper placed together, one to go directly on the wet bark, the other over the top to rub with a brown crayon.  The rubbings made a beautiful authentic green rubbing (from the actual bark) on the sheet of paper underneith.  This will be the one we will use in our journal (the one on the left in the picture)
We used two sheets of paper placed together, one to go directly on the wet bark, the other over the top to rub with a brown crayon. The rubbings made a beautiful authentic green rubbing (from the actual bark) on the sheet of paper underneath. This will be the one we will use in our journal (the one on the left in the picture)

Next up was measuring the circumference, which T11 did using a piece of string.  Our plan is to remeasure at the end of the year and see if it has changed much.  I had also researched how to work out the height of the tree using this website

I’m thinking the people of our village were wondering exactly what was going on!

T11 giving it ago
T11 giving it a go
T11 seeing if it would work looking through someone elses legs!!
T11 seeing if it would work looking through someone elses legs!!

Next we looked at the plant life growing on the tree and we found lichen and Ivy:

Tree with ivy growing up it
Tree with ivy growing up it
We brought home some to see if it would dry enough for our journal
We brought home some to see if it would dry enough for our journal
And also a twig which has the Lichin growing on it
And also a twig which has the lichen growing on it

It was interesting that the children straight away said that the presence of lichen meant that the air quality was good and pollution was low.  Thank you Apologia Plant Biology!  I kinda wished we’d noticed last week when we were studying pollution!  When we come back to pollution we will take a look at the Lichen underneath the microscope

And finally I wanted us to try to figure out exactly what tree we were studying.  The bark rubbings were a start and I also asked the children to scout around and pick up any leaves which had fallen under the tree.  These were the three types we collected:

Oak, sycamore and beech
Oak, sycamore and beech

Whilst doing some research I had happened upon this website which had a lovely downloadable key to identifying trees in the winter by their buds.  Oh, was I happy!  Help at last!  So back we went to the tree, with Gary in tow.  Gary works in the horticultural industry so was immediately able to identify it (irritating, no?)  but I was thankful he kept it to himself until the children had tried by themselves using the id guide:

The children pulling down brances to look at the tree's buds
The children pulling down branches to look at the tree’s buds
Pulling one down for a close up
Pulling one down for a close up
Gary managed to take a lovely photo of the buds
Gary managed to take a lovely photo of the buds.  Recognise them anyone?

Black buds which belong to an………Ash tree!  So there you have it.  This year our tree study will be all about the Ash by the pond side!  Next week we will be concentrating on the fauna and flora of the pond area, and I’m really looking forward to it.

I am taking a blogging break until the Tuesday after Easter, apart from posting next weeks pond study, when I will reveal our very first journal page, on Thursday.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter break.

Science Sunday

20 comments

  1. It was funny watching the kids measuring the tree. I think they were a little embarrassed. Good job guys.

  2. Have a good Easter! I love it when children do things that are out of the ordinary — like the way you were measuring the height of the tree — that raise some eyebrows. It’s a lot of fun to watch other people’s reactions. 🙂

  3. U inspired me and my four year old and I started our own study of our own pond: “Swamp Monster Experiment” it’s called… This will be the NEXT thing we do on Trip 2! Thank you for the continued encouragement and shares! It made our weekend. It’s helped me see that I CAN get my 4 yr old to learn from me, focus, and able to share her OWN findings with others, assisting in her verbal speech therapy, soo many things. Please don’t ever stop the shares! I look forward to finding the time today to plan out our #2nd Pond Trip outline. Also to going throu your older posts for more beneficial teaching activities for my own little one. MANY heartfelt THANKS! You’ve shown me ‘I can do it’ too! Jeanine H j9sopinion.com

      1. LOL I havent quite figured out this whole wordpress thing yet. When i get home i will absolutely try to figure out whats up with it. One thing i DID notice w/WP, when i want to comment on ie your post, i have to open the specific entry by clicking/tapping uts title and opening it (in same window) separate from looking at ALL posts together..? U know?? Maybe that will help LOL

  4. Enjoy your Easter break! I toyed with that idea, but ended up deciding not to for now…… We’ll see, I might take it still.

    I love that you measured it’s circumference, I’m trying to decide if there’s a good sight near us to do a similar nature study. Sadly most of the places I can think of don’t have a good bit of wildlife…….. I’m still thinking on this.

  5. So very inspiring!! (& I loved your “Imagine that.” about the little ones… you have such a way with words!)

    We actually got round to starting our own pond study yesterday! The children took to it much more than I’d expected and I really enjoyed myself too – despite the freezing temperature! Would you mind if I post about it and mention your blog?

    1. I know what you mean about the cold. It was Baltic here when we went to the pond yesterday. I really am looking forward to arrival of Spring (anytime soon?)
      I’d be honoured if you mentioned my blog. Thank you very much!
      (You did a great job on the post you were concerned about- well done you!!)

  6. It is great to have Daddy involved. We don’t have any ash trees around us, but we do have lots of oaks. The children began a tree study in August. Yeah for Apologia Botany. I learned right along with the children. That was fun!

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