Drip, Drip, drop! The forest comes alive with the sights and early sounds of spring. Even though there are few weeks left of winter, the natural world begins to give clues that things are changing.
“T” is for Tapping a Tree: As area school communities and teachers collaborate with Blandford Nature Center it provides students opportunity to make natural connections to their learning. The preschool students from CA Frost Environmental Science Academy recently came out to the Blandford Sugarbush to add their own bucket to a tree. The students will return throughout the month to check their sap levels and marvel at the way maple trees make a sweet treat.
T is for Temperature: Warm days above freezing and cold nights below freezing are ideal for sap flow. The sap runs up the trees to the buds on warm days and back down to the roots on cold nights. These conditions provide the perfect opportunity to allow the preschoolers a chance to make some temperature discoveries.
“Ohhs and Ahhs” poured out of the students as they explored a temperature investigation inside the Learning Lab, measuring the temperature of two liquids. The preschoolers practiced using a thermometer, observing how the change in temperature had an affect on the measuring tool. They recorded their observations using food coloring as an indicator.
The students also made models of thermometers, using fine motor skills to cut and glue. Together we practiced modeling what happens to the temperature at night during the Sugarbush season and then the warm up that happens during the day. In addition to gaining some early awareness of temperature, the students recognized the numbers on the scale.
These opportunities are available for other children too! Blandford’s beautiful and complex ecosystems are here so children can learn, engage, explore, enjoy and value nature’s endless wonders. Blandford offers a variety of field trip experiences, community programs, and seasonal camps.
Related: Whooo lives in the forest?
Also, if you’re interested in developing nature-based, place-based learning experiences like this for your preschool students please contact Janet Staal at email@example.com.
In case you wanted to turn your backyard or you next Blandford Nature Center visit into a learning adventure….
Here are some tips for some early childhood Maple tree learning extension activities:
- Build fine motor skills by taking some clay to make a base to stick the small tree like pieces into it. Children enjoying threading beads on to the branches and they can observe the buds as they add beads.
- Take part in a citizen science backyard project. Project BudBurst is on a mission – to get you outside taking a moment to observe how plants in your community change with the seasons. When you share your observations with them, they become part of an ecological record. Spending time outside with plants is calming, educational, and just plain fun.
- Check out Blandford’s Nature-based Preschool Pinterest Page for more ideas.
- Encourage your child to practice drawing trees – how they look during this season.
- What questions does your child to come up with questions about the changing spring time trees?
- Come out for Blandford Nature Center’s Maple Moon Community Program. Learn how the first people discovered that Maple sap could be turned into something so special!
- Save the date for Blandford Nature Center’s Sugarbush Festival, March 18, 2017.