A Nature Study Example Project: Making a Leaf Book

Adventuring We Shall Go…

Reflecting back on some of our favorite science adventures, I am happy that we did so many hands-on activities.  Many of our science studies were focused around a kitchen counter, but some of them sent us on an excursion to explore the beauty outside.  One such adventure took us leaf collecting and learning how to identify leaves.

Our equipment was simple.  We had a camera, paper, pencil, zip lock bags, and a book about trees.  Our goal was to see if we could identify 15 to 20 trees or bushes.

Here is a link about tree and leaf identification that might be helpful on your identification adventure.

https://extension.uga.edu/content/dam/extension-county-offices/clarke-county/4-h/forestry-judging-information/leaf-identification.pdf

We had six basic questions we looked at:

  1. Are the leaves simple or compound?
  2. Shape
  3. Venation
  4. Leaf Margin
  5. Bark
  6. Fruit

Here is are a couple of pages from one of my kid’s “Leaf Collecting” books they put together.

There was nothing particularly fancy about their “Leaf Collecting” books, but each one holds lessons on how we used part of the scientific method to ask questions, do research, make a guess, observe, and make a conclusion.  For me, it holds memories of fun adventures exploring a topic we knew little about and learned so much from.

Another great activity for trees is to visit a park in the summer and pick a favorite tree to study over the year. Return each season to see the changes in that tree over time. Draw and photograph the tree as it is on each visit.

Here are a few links that you might find helpful if you venture out leaf collecting:

John Muir Laws on Nature Study: https://johnmuirlaws.com/

A free unit study: https://thehomeschoolscientist.com/leaf-unit-study/

Information about Arbor Day: https://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/

Sonya Shafter discusses Nature Notebooks: https://simplycharlottemason.com/blog/the-secret-of-the-nature-notebook/