July’s Nature Notes

July around the Farmstead was filled with lots of warmth, water, and life. The weather has been warm to hot this month and the plants and animals around the Farmstead have been very active. Water has been a big part of the students’ days as we try to stay hydrated and cool.

The students have been using water a lot this month in their play and also as a way to stay cool. The students explored the properties of water by creating small creeks and ponds and then pouring the water in the top pond and watch as the water makes it back to the natural creek. As they create damns and overflow channels they got a chance to explore the properties of a liquid and make predictions about its movement. Then they reevaluated their designs and fine-tuned them to get the flow just right. Some students mixed the water with dirt to create mud they painted on their skin to keep cool. We also took the opportunity to interact with ice in various forms to see how we can cause it to melt in different ways. The students explored the concept of physical phase changes by making them melt faster in hard stone, or in the running creek, or slower by putting them in the shade. Some crushed them and some left them whole to see how that might affect their melting speed.

With the warmer weather and abundance of food, we have also been having more wildlife sightings. We found a turtle in the creek as well as a fox on the road. The days are filled with the sounds of birdsong and cicada symphonies. There have been many whitetail skimmer dragonfly and tiger swallowtail butterfly sightings. One very special sighting was when we saw a robber fly catch and eat a wasp. It was a moment of empathy for some of the students as they learned that even things we are scared of sometimes can have things they are also scared of.

July has been a warm, action packed month and I’m so excited to see what August brings as we enter the later part of summer and begin to think about the upcoming fall!

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