Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paper Wasp Nest

When I dropped by my parent's house one day last week, my mom gave me a little present she'd been
saving for me:

Of course, I was super excited! It's a paper wasp nest that fell out of a tree in their front yard. It was damaged in a storm and abandoned by its residents (So no danger to me).

Check out the amazing patterns. I've seen many of these nests over the years but never one with such a beautiful pattern.

When I taught 4th grade, I used to bring cool items like this into my room all the time, so my mom got in the habit of saving interesting nature items she found for me. Sometimes it would be a dead dragonfly or monarch butterfly, other times a gall of some kind. The more I brought those items in, the more my students would bring them in, too. Our science table overflowed.

This one went to my son's classroom for observation.

The next time you head out in nature, see what you can find to bring back and observe. Please do not remove living things if removing them will cause them harm. For example, I've brought back a cocoon and placed it in a butterfly house for observation but I wouldn't uproot a sapling. If you catch insects, worms, slugs, etc, place them in a proper container with air holes in the top and items from their environment such as soil. After your observation, return them to their homes. And be careful to provide proper accommodations for animals that live in water or have moist skin such as salamanders and frogs.

Next Friday, I'll share a strategy that will help kids dig deeper and really investigate the items you collect.

What interesting items have you found in nature lately?

Related Posts:
Mystery Caterpillar
Mystery Caterpillar, part 2
Nature Observations With Young Children

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