The Handbook of Nature Study blog has many Outdoor Hour Challenges for homeschooling families including one for pine trees.
We've been learning about Maine this month and its state symbols (e.g., bird, tree, flower, rock/gem). Today, we took a look at Maine's state tree and flower which is the Eastern white pine cone and tassel.
The girls listened to some facts about white pine trees from in The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. The following facts are paraphrased from the book:
----->> The white pine can grow 100-200 feet and live to be 200-300 years old.
The girls by one of the white pines in the backyard.
Notice how some of the pine needs are changing colors.
The yellow/brown ones will drop and
the green ones will remain during the winter.
----->> All cone-bearing trees have a central stem from which the branches come off in whorls.
----->> The white pine has five branches in each whorl.
White pine needles in the autumn.
----->> The very tip of the central stem is called "the leader" which leads the growth of the tree.
----->> The bark on young white pines is smooth. On older trees the bark has ridges that are broad, flat, and scaly.
The bark near the base of the white pine tree looked like this.
Further up the tree, the bark was smooth.
----->> The needles on the white pine tree are soft and pliable.
----->> Pine cones require 2-4 years to mature.
----->> The seeds are winged and are developed in cones.
----->> The foliage is evergreen, but is shed gradually.
Raindrops on pine needles.
It was raining when we went on our nature walk.
- The girls colored a picture of the white pine cone and tassel in their book called State Birds and Flowers Coloring Book by Annika Bernhard.
Sophia's picture of the white pine cone and tassel
as well as Maine's state bird (the black-capped chickadee).
The description below said the flowers (without petals, as in all confiers) are yellow (male) and pink (female); and appear in the spring. The female flower turns into the cone.
Pine blossom in the spring.
This was on one of the white pine trees in the backyard.
The "tassels" are the delicate-looking clusters of needles which emerge in groups of five.
- The girls colored pages in their book United States Coloring Book by Rod and Staff Publishers. Each two-page spread shows the state they are studying about as well as some highlights and facts about the state. The state bird is included with each illustration.
Sophia's colored picture of Maine.
Each two-page spread about a state includes
a picture of the state tree, flower, and bird.
- Since we had studied white pine trees in February 2011, we did not do another nature journal entry.
Sophia's journal entry about white pine trees
from February 2011.
- Since they didn't do journal entries, they did fact sheets about white pine trees instead. This is from Considering God's Creation which came with the "Cantering the Country" curriculum bundle.
Olivia's fact sheet about the white pine tree.