OHC Spring Series #4: Wildflowers-Dandelions


Outdoor Hour Challenge
Spring Series #4 Dandelions

Inside Preparation Work:
Read in the Handbook of Nature Study about dandelions on pages 531-535. After reading the suggestions on pages 543 and 535, choose several ideas from the lesson to complete during your Outdoor Hour Time.

Dandelions
Outdoor Hour Time:
Spend 15 minutes outdoors this week in your own backyard or a near-by park. As you walk along, keep your eyes out for dandelions.

Suggestions for Observations
  • See if you can find several dandelions in various stages of growth.
  • Look at the leaves and collect a few for sketching later in your nature journal.
  • If it is growing in your own yard, you might like to dig up the complete dandelion plant and observe the roots.
  • Measure the height of several different dandelion plants and compare them.
  • Examine an unopened dandelion flower.
  • Watch a bee working in a dandelion.
  • Observe the seeds and how they are dispersed.
  • Observe your dandelions on a sunny day and then on a cloudy day. Note any differences.

Follow-Up Activities:
Take some time to draw the dandelion in your nature journal or complete the notebook page from the Spring Series ebook. Make sure to record your observations of the dandelion and make a sketch of the leaf and flower. If you would like to see our sample study of a dandelion in our backyard, here is the LINK.

dandelion big
Composite Flowers-Supplement to the Study of a Dandelion
The dandelion is a composite flower and the Handbook of Nature Study has a section to explain just what that means.

“Many plants have their flowers set close together and thus make a mass of color, like the geraniums or the clovers. But there are other plants where there are different kinds of flowers in one head, those at the center doing a certain kind of work for the production of seed, and those around the edges, doing another kind of work. The sunflower, goldenrod, asters, daisies, coneflower, thistle, dandelion, burdock, everlasting, and many other common flowers have their blossoms arranged in this way.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 503

  • Observe your dandelion, perhaps with a magnifying lens, to see if you can observe the parts of a composite flower:
  • Look at the center of the flower for the disc flowers and around the edges for ray flowers. (illustrated in the diagram on page 575)
  • Examine the disc flowers in the center and see if they are open or unfolded. How many ray flowers are there?
  • Locate the bracts (green cover of the flower before it opens). Can you see the bracts on the back of the flower?
  • More ideas for studying a composite flower are found on page 503 in Lesson 131. Note: This lesson will be Lesson 135 in the older edition and in the Plants and Trees pdf it is on page 68.

If you would like all the Spring Series Challenges in one book, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. The ebook also contains art and music appreciation plans for the winter months as well. Please see this entry for more details:
Spring Series Cover
Spring Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

Comments

  1. Barb, I’ve been doing these challenges…just a bit behind! I’m hoping to post something next Thursday about what we’ve been doing! Thank you for the wonderful ideas! :)

  2. We had a great time with this one this afternoon before the rain started. Hopefully I’ll get it all together in a post and link up early next week.

    Thank you so much for these. They are such great motivation to get out with my kids.

    Thank you!
    ~Erin

  3. I look forward to both your entries.

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

  4. My little one loves dandelions! I am ridiculously far behind on your spring challenges, as we’ve only done one.

  5. We did the dandelion study today, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever look at another dandelion the same again. I sat on a park bench for at least 20 minutes studying the floret arrangement, the little details that the Comstock HNS pointed out and I’d never noticed before. My children eagerly gathered the specimens I asked them to get, and it was a great OHC. Thanks for this, Barb.

  6. I am really really looking forward to this one, though I may be late…LOL. Thank you and I really like the new look!

  7. Stephanie and Andi,

    Perfectly fine to do the challenge at your leisure. Just remember to come back and post a link so I can see what you did!

    Jennifer,

    I don’t think there is anything better to have learned from this study…opening our eyes to what is right around us is amazing. Thanks for the great link.

    Barb

  8. Thanks again for challenging to stop and really take a look at something we thought so common. We learned a great deal! And I love the new look and blog arrangement too.

  9. My children and I have always thought dandelions were beautiful! We are now trying to convert my husband! He said if it was other wildflowers taking over our yard, it would be ok, but not dandelions. ;)

  10. This one was a blast! I have been enjoying these for almost a whole year now….thank you for the wonderful resources and for adding a “piece” to our home learning!
    Blessings!

  11. Nature Study with a teenager is not always sweet and awe-struck!!

  12. I didn’t think we’d ever get out the door, but we did! We all learned a lot, too. Thanks Barb!

  13. Well, we harvested them to eat and we had a pretty good experience ~ the greens were not too bad, my dh loved them cooked with carrots and everyone liked the sauteed roots. Fun study, but there was so much more we could have done! We will have to come back to this one.

    Thanks for hosting, Barb!

  14. I’m new, here, first time linking up. I am just getting into the nature study. Thanks for a great blog to link back to!

  15. What an interesting study! We had a lot of fun doing the activities both inside and outside. We combined science, storytelling, poetry, and cooking so far.

    We’re going to continue with the study and do some more cooking and finish our nature journals today.

    I have a new appreciation for and understanding of dandelions after doing this study…as I’m sure my girls do as well.

  16. We are a little late posting this — we started the dandelion study, then Papi cut the grass, so we had to wait awhile for new specimens to grow!

    We spent a lot of time blowing the seeds off the dandelion heads (of course), then followed up with Spanish lessons on plants.

    Always a fun time!

  17. Filing this away for later– my children LOVE dandelions! We still have lots of snow, so no dandelions or bees or any flowers at all…but I’m sure they are down there under the snow waiting for the sunshine and warmth! I am excited to do this when the time comes.

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