Monday, April 26, 2010

Dandelion study

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Barb over at Handbook of Nature Study often inspires me to take the time to breathe in nature with my kids, but I don't often blog about our experiences. I set the goal at the start of this year to get out each Friday for nature study, and have probably made it about half of the time.

This past Friday was one of those times. And, we really enjoyed a study of something we often get sick of seeing this time of year -- dandelions. We take for granted these annoying weeds and forget all they have to teach us.

To get started, check out the full description of the challenge for the week -- Dandelions, and her great introductory to getting started on nature study using outdoor hour challenges with your kids.

As we headed outdoors for the late morning we found many different specimens of dandelions to observe. (In other words, our yard is full of them!)

We found dandelions still closed, in bloom, closed while the flowers die, and reopened with seeds in full display, and empty as all the seeds had taken flight.

We read through the pages in the Handbook and enjoyed learning and discussing these tidbits:

- The name comes from "Dentes-de-lion" which means Lion's Teeth in french. Which made a lot of sense when you look at the jagged points on the leaves.

- The ground was dry, so we had a difficult time observing the roots, but found some helpful graphics on this site about the common dandelion.

- We brought out a container of water to make some dandelion curls:

- Many people find dandelion greens edible, especially before they flower -- none of my kids wanted to test that theory.

- We found some exceptionally tall ones in the undisturbed meadow nearby. The ones in the lawn that face repeated mowing rarely reach a few inches in height, but the others were a foot high or more.

- This site tries to convince you that dandelions are good for your lawn, but I doubt most homeowners would believe that, or at least their neighbors wouldn't go along with it. (One of the benefits of living in the middle of no where, I suppose. It doesn't really matter how many dandelions decide to take up residence around us).

We enjoyed spending a good bit of time looking at this common flower and learning about its look feel, purpose, and unique traits. I had no idea there would be so much to discover about a flower I thought I had known well all my life.

And, of course, we had to ask, "Do you like butter?"

To read about or share more outdoor hour experiences, head over to the Handbook of Nature Study blog.


Michelle said...

Awesome dandelion study! Lots of great info and learning fun. I think you should have tested that theory. =) Your message in the center photo is too cute. I was about to say that we were still waiting on dandelions to pop up, but my 11 year old was reading over my shoulder and said, we have some - so guess what we did. :D

6intow said...


Can't wait to read about your study. This was lots of fun and went so many different directions that I hadn't anticipated.

Glad you noticed my daughter's dandelion stem message. Natural art.

Thank you!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I am so glad that you gave the dandelion study a try using the HNS. I have done two official studies of dandelions and both times I found something new to learn.

We also have quite a few dandelions in our lawn and my husband doesn't seem them as wildflowers like I do. :)

Great job on your nature study and thank you so much for sharing your entry.