We finished up our nature study unit on bodies of water by going to the beach!
Well, as I've mentioned before, I really don't love the beach. It's just so sandy. And sticky. And hot. But we've been studying bodies of water as part of our nature study and I just felt like I really couldn't come up with a plausible reason why we shouldn't go to the beach for our last week of nature study. It just seemed too good. And then to top things off, my sister-in-law texted and said she was on spring break and wanted to go to the beach! I told her that if it had been any other week of the year I would have said no. The weather was so terrible that we didn't even wear our swimsuits because I thought surely we wouldn't be getting in the water since it would be chilly. But I should've known better than that. At least I had the foresight to bring extra clothes (and not forget them in the living room like I did last time). So we packed our lunch and our nature journals and made the drive down.
We didn't do a lot of "study" while we were there, which by the way is one of my favorite things about this nature study we're doing. I didn't really need to point anything out, actually. All the weeks that they had already spent observing water made everything more meaningful to them. They were amazed that the vast expanse of water we were looking at connected all the way back to the little tiny bayou in the backyard of our house, but they understood it right away. They noticed differences between the little bayou and the huge gulf, but also similarities. In many ways, it was a confirmation of what we'd been doing for the whole quarter. I didn't have to teach them anything, but just purposely putting them in the right situations and helping them to pay attention to their surroundings gave them the tools to understand more deeply. And that's a win for me as the teacher and for them as the students!
Of course they didn't sit there on the beach like little scholars making sketches in their nature journals or anything. Actually we forgot to do the nature journals and they had to do them in the car ride on the way home. They jumped over waves and dug in the sand and buried their feet and all the normal things kids do at the beach. But it was nice for me to see how they could appreciate it in a new way because of what we had studied. My sister, mom and sister-in-law enjoyed sitting on the beach and playing with the kids and I actually just relaxed while their aunts entertained the three older ones. It was a good day for everyone!