Friday, 18 November 2011

Nature study-introduction and earthworms

We are privileged to have a garden and surrounding area ideal for looking at nature. Just in our garden, this year, we have had a swarm of bees,
hedgehogs, newts and pheasants and far, far more.

It seemed a shame to waste all of this especially as the younger children love being outside. My major concern was how to structure nature study as my guess is that the children and I often go outside and don't really see what is there.

I had looked at various books and discarded them either because they weren't UK based or because they were so old fashioned. The Ladybird series about "What to look for in autumn" etc are beautifully illustrated but talk about stooks of corn and a slightly different population of wildlife than would be relevant now.

So, I decided to do my own thing using bits from various books. The aim is to look at something in our garden initially and to cover
  •  introduction from a relevant book
  •  an activity
  •  art work
  •  poem or book on the subject
So far, we have had sessions on earthworms and oak trees.
For this post, this is just a short outline of the earthworm session.

Backyard Science was good for an introduction.

For the earthworms, we made a wormery. For this, we used sand (a little left at the bottom of the sandpit from the summer) and layered it with earth. It didn't look as neat as in this book
but digging for worms was something that both children loved. They then found plenty of leaves for the worms to eat. We have been checking the worm farm daily for signs of worm activity and to check there is food and sufficient moisture. I have had to warn the children that the worms will have to go back to the soil fairly soon-they aren't indefinite pets.

I have started my own nature book and it has been fun to draw or write alongside the children even though it does bring back memories of biology A level practicals.

Miss Belle was keen to draw the wormery as well as dictate sentences for me to write and for her to copy. Mr Exuberance has a book but rapidly went onto drawing what he described as sofas.

As for poems, I found these. I'm not really sure that poem is the right word but the children enjoyed them.

After this session, the children seemed to have lost their squeals of horror at the sight of a worm.

Do let me know if you have good nature study resources. I am keen to keep up these sessions but need inspiration!


  1. I really like what you did with the nature study. I love the worm farm! I'm sure your children had fun with it!

  2. Have you come across Nature Detectives or the Handbook of Nature Study blog? We haven't done a lot of nature study yet but I think I will use those resources when we do.

  3. I need to look at Nature Detectives again-we had a year's worth of posts but didn't really use it. Probably just wasn't the right time for us. I like the Handbook of Nature Study but wanted to do something more UK based.
    Thanks for reminding me about Nature Detectives.