Friday, January 29, 2010

Signs of Spring Journal Assignment

This is the 4th year I have assigned the students this "Signs of Spring" journal assignment.

“Signs of Spring” Journal Writing Project

“Observation is not only the most fundamental science process skill, it is also the most fundamental act of a caring person” Anon.

During the next few months, I want you to be on the lookout for signs that spring is approaching. Even though spring, or the Vernal equinox, officially arrives on March 20, we all know that spring isn’t really here on that date. I have included a list of some signs of spring for you to be on the look out for, but there are many more. Use your senses! Listen, smell, see, and feel. Each entry must include the following information in your “Signs of Spring” journal:
A. Date
B. Time
C. Location
D. Description
E. Sketch

Your written journal entry should be at least two paragraphs long. A paragraph is 4 – 7 sentences long. Your writing should be descriptive, based on your observations. You may also be more creative and include creative writing such as poetry, your own art work, etc.

You could also include information such as temperature, wind speed, rainfall, etc. This information may be obtained from the weather page of a newspaper, an almanac, or on-line.

Your observations might be of one particular thing or event, and you may follow up with additional observations of that same thing. For instance, if you have a Maple tree in your yard, you might first observe when the sap begins to flow. Next, you might notice that the buds are beginning to swell. Next, you might record when the leaves are beginning to first open, and last, you could write when the tree is fully leafed out.

You may want to comment on how big something grew, how many, or the frequency of, something you saw, or any other subtle changes you observed. Use your senses! Listen, smell, see, and feel.

Your drawings should be observational art, not imaginative art. They need to communicate information. Give evidence in your drawings – size, shape, color, motion, contour lines. Use the “Tips for Nature Sketching” sheet that Mrs. Davis wrote. In addition, I will accept digital photographs you take yourself.

To successfully do this assignment, you will have to get outdoors where you will have a first hand opportunity to use all of your senses to observe the world around you.

We will start the “Signs of Spring journal the week of January 25th. Though it is the height of winter, there are little changes happening that let us know that spring is coming. I will let you know the dates the journal entries are due. We’ll continue this until early June.
Journals will be checked and graded!.

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