Hilltown Families

Archives

Once you’ve reaped the delicious benefits of a summer’s harvest, look further than your plate in order to find a purpose for what you’ve grown. Seed saving is a fantastic way to practice self sufficiency and resilience, and also helps to preserve plant varieties for years to come. In addition to the cultural and agricultural value of holding onto these plants (and their seeds), practicing seed saving at home is a great way to engage in hands-on science learning – the digging-in-the-dirt kind that leads to some serious discoveries!

As you gaze into the center of a flower, did you know that you’re regarding an incredible example of mathematical reasoning? Nature’s patterns, as it happens, are deeply rooted in the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio. It’s the ultimate in a marriage between the aesthetic beauty of nature, and its mathematical base that makes it make sense.

Read on to discover what a learning opportunity this is for the family to share! There are many resources on-line, in your community, and of course in your backyard to explore these theories.

As you gaze into the center of a flower, did you know that you’re regarding an incredible example of mathematical reasoning? Nature’s patterns, as it happens, are deeply rooted in the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio. It’s the ultimate in a marriage between the aesthetic beauty of nature, and its mathematical base that makes it make sense. Read on to discover what a learning opportunity this is for the family to share! There are many resources on-line, in your community, and of course in your backyard to explore these theories.

Read more and see great videos in our post, Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education.

Western MA has had a fairly substantial helping of thunder this summer. They are intimidating and magnificently unpredictable, carrying with them all manner of science and folktales.

They inspire great curiosity in children and by reading on you’ll discover a great way to meet this curiosity in your kids through different types of science learning portals.

Blooming flowers in western Massachusetts is a sight to behold. However, Mother Nature is still boss in these here parts and she dictates that the bloom will wilt in due time. Pressing plants and flowers is a fun and poignant way to capture memories of Spring and Summer while supporting an interest in botany and local habitats. Keep on pressing and the next thing you know you have a family herbarium!

It is also a superb way to broaden a child’s educational learnscape through honing skills on observation, documentation, craft, composition, science and of course nature. Read about the educational value pressing flowers and plants can offer your kids, and keep a bit of summer with you forever.

When learning about biodiversity, students are often shown far away landscapes – such as jungles and deserts – as examples of places with unique sets of plants, animals, and interesting terrain. The fields, forests, lakes, and streams of Western Massachusetts, however, are bursting with a wide variety of trees, grasses, flowers, insects, birds, fish, and mammals of all sizes! Come discover and learn about your local ecology at the 6th annual Berkshire BioBlitz!

Celebrate the role of water in our local landscape at Shelburne Falls’ RiverFest, an annual community event celebrating local culture and local water. Families can learn about the local landscape, celebrate local history, and participate in the annual Frog and Flower Parade, which showcases community spirit and beautiful (and funky) handmade representations of familiar river creatures.

Fascinating creatures that they are, turtles have been given their very own holiday! Families can celebrate World Turtle Day with a visit to Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about local turtles, or can explore the wetlands of the Berkshire to look for endangered bog turtles!

Springtime brings many migratory bird species back to western Massachusetts and, as these feathered friends return, opportunities for citizen science centered around species preservation arise! Help Mass Audubon to monitor some species whose populations are in decline, and learn about three fascinating bird species in the process.

Celebrate spring with baby animals at Hancock Shaker Village! The historic village opens for the season with a barn filled with new babies for visitors to welcome to the world. Families can take behind-the-scenes tours of the farm and learn about the village’s history and unique architecture, too!

Families can use their minds as butterfly catchers in insect nets when visiting the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art this spring and summer, as the galleries will be filled with Carle’s images of crawling creatures of all shapes and sizes! Hands-on art making opportunities enhance the bug-art themed, allowing families to exercise their entomological creativity just as Carle has.

Did you know that dragonflies migrate? Families can observe the migratory habits of dragonflies and participate in meaningful citizen science by taking part in Dragonfly Pond Watch, a project that collects data on dragonfly habits based on observations made at ponds where focus species can be found!

Combining artistic expression and conservation, the annual Junior Duck Stamp Program gives children the opportunity to study local waterfowl and practice using their artistic skills to portray them in their native habitat. The competition even provides curriculum materials to support families and educators in expanding children’s learning as they participate!

As the blanket of snow gets deeper outside, frogs of all types are hibernating below the frost line or under water. And for many of us, one of the first signs of spring is the call of the Spring Peepers as they emerge from their hibernation and begin to find a mate. FrogWatch USA, a citizen science program that provides people of all ages with the opportunity to learn about amphibians and help with conservation efforts, is looking for volunteers to help collect data on the calls of frogs and toads from February through August. Find out how you can participate…

What does an eagle feed its young? How do mother bats find their babies in a cave? Using imaginative role-play and hands-on activities, families and children ages 3 through 8 will answer these questions while exploring the hidden habitats and secret lives of forest animals at the Springfield Science Museum’s newest exhibit, “Animal Secrets.” See the world from an eagle’s point-of-view and gather food for the winter with a chipmunk family, all while discovering Animal Secrets!

Leaf studies aren’t just for the fall! Citizen scientists can participate in Project BudBurst’s fall data collection project by identifying and observing local plant species. Information submitted to the project helps scientists learn about the year-round changes that species undergo, and families will learn more about their surroundings by participating!

Once you’ve reaped the delicious benefits of a summer’s harvest, look further than your plate in order to find a purpose for what you’ve grown. Seed saving is a fantastic way to practice self sufficiency and resilience, and also helps to preserve plant varieties for years to come. In addition to the cultural and agricultural value of holding onto these plants (and their seeds), practicing seed saving at home is a great way to engage in hands-on science learning – the digging-in-the-dirt kind that leads to some serious discoveries!

It’s been the summer of love for pollinators! We have been reminded how much we need these important and industrious little creatures. The Berkshire Museum BeMuse Program series is offering two upcoming events which are particularly intriguing and inviting for those of you who want to get to know your local pollinators and how you can help them along the way!

Birds are migrating! Do you know who you’re sharing your yard with? Birds of all sorts have long since returned to western Massachusetts to nest for the summer and fall migrations are beginning, and it’s high time to get out and get birding!

Now luckily we have resources available to heighten our senses in relation to the sounds and colors of our winged neighbors. Through online resources & apps we can mobilize quicker bird identification, and have fun doing it. It’s a wonderful window in which to introduce vibrant nature-based education to your children. Check out these online resources while discovering birding opportunities coming up in Western MA this September!

A common theme throughout childhood, animals are part fascinating and part learning opportunity – and the best way to learn about them is by seeing them in real life. No need to travel around the globe to see interesting specimens – local community-based resources here in western Massachusetts present families with a wide array of animal-related adventures and offer lots of ways to learn about all sorts of creatures. No matter a child’s age or interest, local zoos, museums, aquariums, and farms can teach about everything from habitat and adaptations to biological classification and husbandry.

While exploring outdoors, the development of sense of place and lots of skills for learning can be supported through a game of nature-themed bingo or an outdoor scavenger hunt. Perusing the local landscape in search of specific species, animal signs, and other natural details will inspire curiosity in children. Tailoring games and hunts to meet children’s learning needs (from sensory experiences to microscopic observations) and individual interests (like a fascination with insects or evergreens) can help them to dig deeper into their interests in a way that is age- and developmentally-appropriate – not to mention educationally valuable.

As you gaze into the center of a flower, did you know that you’re regarding an incredible example of mathematical reasoning? Nature’s patterns, as it happens, are deeply rooted in the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio. It’s the ultimate in a marriage between the aesthetic beauty of nature, and its mathematical base that makes it make sense.

Read on to discover what a learning opportunity this is for the family to share! There are many resources on-line, in your community, and of course in your backyard to explore these theories.

%d bloggers like this: