Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stepping into the Life of a Naturalist: Ecosystem Study

Book Link
Intrigued by the bee problem and prepping for students' initial science unit related to the ecosystem, I'm making the time to step into the life of a naturalist as I learn about bees with Dave Goulson's book, A Sting in the Tale.  One of my Twitter PLN members recommended the book, and generally I can trust recommendations from that hand picked, creative, thought provoking, and invested professional group.

Goulson begins the story with many detailed vignettes about his life in nature as a young boy. I am looking forward to learning how his youthful explorations lead to expertise about bees. I'm also looking forward to understanding bees more. On our school playground, bees are a nemesis, hence it will be helpful to understand their significant and integral role in nature better.

In addition to the biography of George Washington Carver and biographies of other naturalists and scientists, Goulson's story will give me a personal example of what naturalists do and how their work positively affects our environment. This is a story that I suspect some children will see themselves in, and even more students will relate to as they explore, collect data, make connections, hypothesize, interact, affect, and report on our local environment.

As I read, I'll collect the following information:
  • Goulson's Boyhood Days and Exploration: An example of how youthful passion, exploration, and learning leads to lifelong study and contribution.
  • Goulson's Learning Journey: The steps and actions that led to Goulson's expertise, work, and effect.
  • Bees: What are they, how do they work, what's the current problem with bees, and how can we interact and support these critical creatures in our environment (and stay safe from their sting as well)?
  • Environmental study: In what ways can I use this story to instill a sense of students' ownership, care, and responsibility for natural environment?
  • Shared learning: How can I inspire students with this story and promote greater learning and share?
  • Telling Your Story in Nature: What excerpts from this story will I share with students as an example of writing about nature, science, exploration, and learning--examples they can replicate in their own journal work and science writing?
Goulson's book is not the first book I pick up when I've got an hour to read, but by setting the stage with the questions above, I build my enthusiasm, urgency, and will to read the story. By explicitly providing ourselves with the rationale, roadmap, and questions for a quest, we develop a framework that creates interest, need, and desire to learn what's important for us to know.

Have you read a book like Goulson's? If so, what was the title. What stories of childhood explorations in nature have excited and developed your own love and learning of the natural world?  I look forward to your share. 

Ecosystem Study