Inside Preparation Work:
- Read pages 655-658 in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson 180). Make note of #6-8 of the suggested activities in Lesson 180 and try to complete these during your outdoor time.
- View information and range maps to determine which cottonwood tree you may have in your area. Start here with this information on the Eastern Cottonwood. You can also view the Fremont Cottonwood and as an alternative the Quaking Aspen which is in the same order, family, and genus. See the Additional Links section for a few videos.
- Print fact sheets if you desire: Eastern Cottonwood Fremont Cottonwood, and the Quaking Aspen.
- You may wish to use the Summer Tree Challenge from a previous year which includes a printable Seasonal Tree Study Notebook Page.
Outdoor Hour Time:
- Spend your outdoor time for this challenge looking at trees and discussing the differences between winter and summer trees. Cottonwood trees can be found in sunny locations, near streams and bottom lands. In the summer their leaves rustle in the breeze. Make careful observations of the leaves. If you don’t have a cottonwood or aspen tree to observe in person, make summertime observations of any tree you have in your yard or neighborhood.
- Advanced study: Make field sketches of your cottonwood tree: shape of the tree (canopy), the bark, the leaves.
- Follow up your outdoor time with a nature journal (perhaps completed outdoors under a tree). This might be a good time to share a few points about the cottonwood tree including why it is called a cottonwood. Ebook Users: There are coloring pages for the Eastern Cottonwood and the Quaking Aspen if you desire. You can use the Summer Tree Notebook Page for your journal entry if you wish.
- Summer time is a great time to bring your watercolors outdoors and for this challenge you could try making paintings of your summer tree or some summer leaves. You can also press leaves for your nature journal.
- Advanced Study: Complete a nature journal for your cottonwood tree. Find four summer tree leaves and make careful observations and sketches in your nature journal. Make sure to label your shape, leaf margins, and venation.
Updated 6/19/12: Here is our Cottonwood Tree entry.
All the summer challenges for 2012 are included in the new More Nature Study Book #4 Summer Sizzle ebook. The challenges in the ebook are the same challenges that will post every Friday here on my blog. If you want to follow along with notebook pages and coloring pages, click over and learn more about the ebook.