The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 2

Notes and Lesson Plans

Nature Study - February
updated May 1, 2021


Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.



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Nature Study
for Bridge and Class 1/2



This is a continuation of my Nature Study page, with specific notes for February.

As a Bridge curriculum or for Nature study in grades 1 & 2, I recommend the Charlotte Mason-inspired Exploring Nature with Children curriculum. It is a downloadable PDF which you can choose to print or not, and the cost is just $18.00. An optional companion book is Anna Botsford Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study, which is also useful for multiple years.



Handbook of Nature Study

by Anna Botsford Comstock



February - Week 1
Candlemas, p.101


February - Week 2
Earthworms, p.104


February - Week 3
Evergreens, p.109

    I do not believe that conifers "originated in cold climates." Conifers evolved during the late Carboniferous Period (Timeline of Life) and really thrived and took off during the Permian Period, which was mostly known for being extremely dry due to the formation of Pangaea. With the supercontinent being so massive, and so many parts of it far from the ocean, the interior was largely desert. The end of the Permian is believed to have been the hottest time period of all. I believe the conifers did well, not because "they originated in cold climates," but because the needle-shape of the leaf and the waxy coating allowed the leaves to retain water extremely well.

    I would also point to the fact that fire plays an important role in many conifer forests, as they depend on its searing heat for regeneration. Some conifers, including bald cypress, rely on flooding for their reproduction.

    Brittanica.com says, "Conifers are most abundant in cool temperate and boreal regions, where they are important timber trees and ornamentals, but they are most diverse in warmer areas, including tropical mountains.... Conifers almost cover the globe, from within the Arctic Circle to the limits of tree growth in the Southern Hemisphere."


    "Why the Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter"
    by Florence Holbrook
    from Buy Nothing Day 2019 (PDF) activities by Waldorf Publications

    take a nature walk and look for every plant that is evergreen; sketch a leaf from each evergreen plant; compare the shapes and look for similarities; what do you notice?

    feel the surface of each evergreen leaf; what do you notice?

    find a conifer that produces sticky resin: cedar, fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, yew, larch
    (if you have some, look at insects fossilized in amber)

    do paintings of our beautiful magnolia tree (evergreen) and cypress tree (deciduous)

    Coniferous trees tend to be evergreen but some are deciduous. Broadleaf trees tend to be deciduous but some are evergreen.

    explain that your baby teeth are also called your deciduous teeth because they fall out

    observe evaporation: mix a portion of water and salt until the salt dissolves, then set the dish in a warm place and let the water evaporate out over several days and leave the salt

    I wonder: if you got two paper towels wet with the same amount of water and spread one out flat and rolled the other one up tightly into a long thin tube, would the needle-shaped paper towel stay wet longer?

    look at a vegetable (such as rutabaga) that has been waxed so that it will last longer

    observe that oil and water do not mix: make up a bottle with both and shake it repeatedly

    I wonder: if you set up two dishes, each with the same amount of water, and in one dish you poured a thin layer of vegetable oil on the top of the water, and you placed them both in a warm place and watched to see the water evaporate out, would the dish with the oil layer evaporate more slowly?

    plants must have water! what happens if you give a plant sunshine and do not water it?
    it will die... not only of thirst but of starvation because plants need water to make their food

    how water moves through plants; look at cross-section of celery stalk and find vascular bundles; do experiment with food coloring and a celery stalk with leaves

    drawing bark activity from The Berenstain Bears' First Time Do-It! Book

    right now is the time when the sap is running in the sugar maples at Giant City State Park!
    taste maple syrup and maple sugar

    look at the tips of twigs around the yard... if they have new growth and/or new leaf buds they will be reddish... do a wet-on-wet watercolor painting experience with Permanent Rose

    look around your home... if you have a houseplant that is a tree, does it keep its leaves in the winter? why? is this tree naturally evergreen or is it deciduous in its natural habitat?

    is a cactus an evergreen? no, a cactus is not considered a tree because it doesn't have a woody stem (but it does have vascular tissue to move water around)

    observe succulents; how do they store water and why; break a leaf off an aloe plant

    if you also have a 5th grader who is studying Botany, here's my favorite Photosynthesis Activity (PDF)


    All Year Round

    by Ann Druitt, et al.
    "Magic tufty cones" activity, page 48


    Tell Me a Story

    edited by Louise deForest
    "The Little Pine Tree," p.107


    Redwoods

    by Jason Chin


    Ancient Ones: The World of The Old-Growth Douglas Fir

    by Barbara Bash


    Sugaring Time

    by Kathryn Lasky


    Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus

    by Barbara Bash


    Cactus Hotel

    by Brenda Guiberson


    Dig, Wait, Listen: A Desert Toad's Tale

    by April Pulley Sayre


February - Week 4
A Field Trip, p.112



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