Make like a tree and...leaf!

We are enjoying Fun Fridays now that our homeschool co-op has ended for the semester. Fun Friday flexibility allowed us to finish up some projects we've been working on for a while. 

In her weekly science class, Punky has been learning about animal classification. The week she learned about birds, we really got interested in learning how birds make nests. We watched several videos, made our own nests, and were especially intrigued by the weaver bird. We decided to try our hands at weaving, wondering how in the world that tiny bird can weave such an intricate nest with only its beak! Wow!

We've done paper weaving and we've made potholders, we've made loom band jewelry, and we were ready for something totally different. I happened to see a fun mash-up of string art and a nature loom, and we decided to try it out. Using a small pumpkin, I created a loom with nails and string. Punky collected some items from our back yard (long blades of grass, a dried out vine, flowers, leaves, etc) and then she chose a few lengths of fiber from our craft cabinet. She then proceeded to weave the items on her pumpkin loom.

The weaving skills are there,
but the cat decided to do some adjusting
before we could snap a picture. Silly cat!

On the opposite side of the pumpkin, Punky used more nails to create a "freestyle" nature loom. I believe her goal was to create a web of string in which she could secure all of her nature treasures. Goal achieved!

After our weaving projects, we decided to check out some fall leaves. We have previously talked about plants, photosynthesis, and seasons. I wanted to build on those topics by exploring why leaves change colors and fall. Our quick lesson started with a BrainPop video on leaves. This provided review of terminology and gave us a foundation on which to build our lesson.

The leaves around our neighborhood aren't as vibrant in color as other parts of the country, but we do enjoy some red, orange, and even purple color! Again, Punky went exploring and found some leaves for our investigation. We created a fall color leaf rubbing and talked about the veins in the leaves carrying the food and water, and providing structural support for the blades of the leaf.

We were excited to see this science in action through a STEAM project I happened to find on Pinterest (honestly, this is why *I* wanted to do this lesson). We used coffee filters to demonstrate the way the water and food moves from the center/stem out to the blades of the leaf.

Our leaves decorate our back door
(please ignore dog nose prints,
but notice the adorable Scout Autumn
 just waiting to be invited inside). 

Punky ended the project by reading the book The Falling Leaves by Steve Metzger, and watching a BrainPopJr video called Fall.