Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wondering Outside Your Window

This week I read a new book called, Outside Your Window A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies.  It is a wonderful book that introduces and encourages children to explore nature outside of their own window.  How often do we encourage children/students to look outside and wonder or look at something out a window and wonder about it.

Twice this week, I looked out a window in my own house and wondered.  I will share both experiences with my own students and encourage them to pick a window in their house to look out of and wonder about the nature that they see.

Last summer we redid our formal living room and turned it into a "family" office.  The room has three beautiful windows that overlooks our front yard.  Recently, as I sat and worked on my computer, I kept noticing a robin that would land on our magnolia tree outside the window.  She often had a worm in her mouth, so I knew that a nest was nearby.  I wondered where the nest was and why she was landing in the the tree before flying to the nest.  Wednesday morning as I sat down at my computer, as I do every morning the answer became clear.  Out in the magnolia tree was a fluffy little robin, just waiting to take flight.  I wondered why there was only one baby and how the baby got to the tree because it wasn't flying.

The second wonder outside our window came Friday night as my husband was out on our deck grilling hamburgers for dinner.  I looked out and noticed what appeared to be all kinds of bugs flying around.  My husband came in and asked if I noticed them.  We soon realized it was a swarm of bees that had chosen our tree to start a hive in.  As we ate dinner, we were all full of wonders.  Some of the questions we asked were: How long does it take to build a hive?  Why did they choose our tree?  Where did they come from and why did they leave their previous hive? How far did they fly to reach our tree?  How far can they fly?  Why haven't we ever seen anything like this before?  What are we going to do about his?  We also discussed all kinds of funny ways to get rid of the bees too.

I was reminded of Wonder #51 What Do Bees Do in Winter? and read how they cluster together in the winter to protect the queen bee and to stay warm.  I also learned how long bees live and how much honey they produce.  

As we woke Saturday morning the swarm of bees was much tighter than the night before.  As we ate breakfast most of talking was about the cluster of bees and how we were going to get rid of them (seriously this time).  Around mid-morning I looked out the window and the bees were gone.  I wonder where the next stop on their journey was?

I encourage you to try the following:
  • Pick a window and take a few minutes to look outside with your students or family.
  • What do you see? (Make a list)
  • What are you thinking about what you see? 
  • What do you wonder about what you are seeing?
  • Have fun discussing and dialoguing about your observations and wonders.
Lots goes on right outside our windows, but rarely do we take the time to watch, think and wonder about it.

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