Outdoor Hour Challenge
Crop Plants #1
This video will give you a good idea of what clover looks like and how bees move from one flower to the next.
Inside Preparation Work
1. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 591-598. These pages cover three sections in the Handbook of Nature Study but are closely related. I encourage you to read all the pages even if you do not think you have the particular clover in your area. Use your highlighter to mark sections you found interesting and that at some point you want to share with your children in the follow-up activity.
You can do an internet search for each of these kinds of clover so you and your children will know what you are looking for during your Outdoor Hour time this week. I use Google Images. You may wish to preview any searches.
Red Clover (Vermont’s State Flower)
2. Your outdoor time this week can be spent in your yard or at a near-by park. Look for areas of lawn or pastures that may include clover. You may find clover at the edges of trails as well so keep your eyes out as you have your outdoor time this week.
3. Another subject for your outdoor hour time could be the honeybee. The relationship between clover and honeybees is a beneficial one and if you can observe bees in the clover you have witnessed a great partnership.
4. Pollen can be a topic for your outdoor hour time if you don’t find clover or honeybees. You can review Outdoor Hour Challenge #18 if you need help knowing where to look for pollen.
5. After your outdoor time, make sure to discuss with your children what interested them from their nature study this week. They may be more interested in learning about something they observed and our job as parents is to help them answer their questions. Use the Handbook of Nature Study by looking up the topic in the index or the table of contents. You can also look on the Handbook of Nature Study blog and see if we have covered the topic in a previous Outdoor Hour Challenge.
In the Handbook of Nature Study, on page 593, there is a section on nodules. The nodules will be found as little “swellings” on the roots of clover. These nodules have an important job which is explained in the Handbook of Nature Study on the same page. Make sure to read this section to yourself so when you have your follow-up activity you will be prepared to talk about nodules.
5. On page 594 in the lesson, #3 suggests that you take up the clover plant and look at its roots. This would make a great addition to your nature journal. Sketch the whole clover plant and then perhaps one of the flowers.
6. On page 598 in the lesson, #5 suggests that you tie a string around a clover head that has not yet blossomed. This way you can observe the same flower over a period of several days. You could record each day’s observations in your nature journal either in words or as a sketch.
Optional activity: Find some clover honey at your grocery store and enjoy it on bread or in some herbal tea.
Optional activity: Grow clover as a cover crop in your garden. Here is a link for you to read and learn how to use your new knowledge of clover to an advantage.
How to Grow Crimson Clover as a Cover Crop
New for this series of challenges are custom made notebook pages for each crop plant we will study. I have designed simple to use pages that will complement each challenge and will be an easy way to start a nature journal. Each of the eight notebook pages is in full color, but they are just as great in black and white.