Saturday, September 13, 2008

Botany, Herbology... A Rose by Any Other Name

We've officially wrapped up our study of botany/herbology, at least for this year. We started last spring during our "Cinderella Stories Around the World" unit study. (Ohmygosh! I still haven't posted about that -- soon!) Science was Herbology, focusing, naturally, on pumpkins. "Cinderella Stories" kind of morphed into our study of the Middle Ages, a la Learning Adventures, and we continued our study of botany, focusing more on herbs. So we began in April with an interactive experience in square-foot gardening and finished this month by making a fairly extensive lapbook.

Square-Foot Gardening is a passion of one of the families in our homeschool group. In April, they invited us all to invade their backyard and gave us our introduction to Mel's method for growing good things. The first step is to mix up a blend of three ingredients to use in place of regular old backyard variety soil. You can read all about it in Mel's book.

Because we're notoriously NOT green thumbs around here, we decided to start small. We took the soil blend, and the girls each planted two crops, in 1-foot-diameter pots.

Using the blended soil, the girls prepared the containers.

Then each girl planted two different kinds of seeds, one type in each container.

Jelly chose squash and cucumbers. Doodle chose tomatoes and carrots.

The girls faithfully watered, the sun shone, and the plants began to grow. You may need to look VERY carefully to see Doodle's tiny sprout.

The girls were thrilled!

In July, we went to the Orange County Fair. One of the highlights was attending a class and investigating the demonstration garden of Mr. Square-Foot-Gardening himself, Mel Bartholomew. The girls loved seeing the gardens.

The girls have "notebooked" most of their actual gardening experience as part of their "Cinderella Around the World" unit study. (I really will post about that sometime soon!) Their academic (as opposed to hands-on) study they lapbooked.

The Hands of a Child project pack, HOCPP 1116, Botany, was our main lapbook source. There is an Answer Key for this pack that outlines a complete lesson plan. Cool!

We also used a free sample module from Live and Learn Press that is part of their product that accompanies Jeannie Fulbright's excellent book, Exploring Creation with Botany. If you are looking for an awesome elementary science series, you should definitely investigate her books.

Our third source for minibooks was Homeschool Helper.

As always, we also added in miniaturized pages from miscellaneous sources that I've collected over the years. Some of them came from Evan-Moor's Theme Pockets - May Book. I'd like to list credits for all of them, but it's just not possible.

So, without further delay, here are the Botany Lapbooks that the girls put together after our four-month-plus study.

I especially love the tulips the girls drew on their covers, using a step-by-step how-to-draw-a-tulip page. I'm afraid I don't know it's source.

The folders for these lapbooks were originally intended to be used a minioffices, but we somehow ended up with too many. The colors were perfect for botany, so we appropriated them! The girls did their own layouts, so each book is unique. They do both use brass brads to add in their "notebook-style" pages and extensions.

Jelly's creative style usually involves adding in small drawings and her own humorous cartoons appropriate to the theme.

Doodle chose to label each page that begins a new section of her lapbook.

On the left side of this pic, you can see one of the EMC pages we reduced to 50% and printed two-to-a-page. Still big enough to see the details.

On the right side of this pic, you can see the sample minibooks from the Apologia Elementary Botany lapbook available from Live and Learn Press.

That's our botany study, from cover to cover.

From the beauties of the Earth, we're moving on to the heavens. Astronomy is our next science topic, because it is such a natural fit with our study of the Renaissance. We'll be admiring gorgeous art - both of the earthly and heavenly varieties.

Stay tuned for our adventures in star-gazing!

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At Tue Sep 30, 08:40:00 AM PDT, Blogger AnoelleB said...

AWESOME stuff! Ben had an LDS librarian in TX who did Cinderella around the world, and he loved it. He still talks about it and finds other stories that would count as a Cinderella from another culture. When is open enrollment for Wonderwood?


At Tue Sep 30, 04:05:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Andrea said...

Here from the Lapbooking Yahoo! group... These are so impressive and beautiful! I am totally blown away by Jelly and Doodle's work! My 10yo son will be doing a botany unit study later this year, and I've bookmarked (as well as oohed and ahhhed) this page for future reference. I would love to see the Cinderella around the world units as well (though I have the feeling my kiddo wouldn't be into it, feeling it's FOR GIRLS. lol) Great job and thanks for sharing!!!


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