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Outdoor Hour Challenge #29: Sunflower Study

“ Probably most people, the world over, believe that sunflowers twist their stems so that their blossoms face the sun all day. This belief shows the utter contentment of most people with a pretty theory.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 576

I completely enjoyed reading this section of then Handbook. I actually learned many things that are now firmly implanted in my memory thanks to Anna Comstock and our own investigation of our garden sunflowers.

This week I hoped the challenge would be a follow up to our early summer’s planting of sunflowers. I know many of you have sunflowers happily growing in your yards so this challenge is for you.

If you didn’t plant sunflowers or they didn’t grow for some reason, check you local florist for a sunflower you can purchase and then observe in your kitchen and then dissect as the week goes by. I saw loads of sunflowers being sold at our local farmers market so be creative and see if you can find an actual sunflower to observe this week or next week.

“The sunflower is not a single flower, but is a large number of flowers living together; and each little flower, or floret, as it is called, has its own work to do.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 576

Outdoor Hour Challenge #29
Sunflower Study

1. This week we will complete a study sunflowers. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study about sunflowers on page 574-578. I can’t think of a better way to study sunflowers than to follow Anna Comstock’s suggestions in this section of her book. Read the narrative and then go over the observations suggestions and decide how your family will complete this challenge.

2. Make sure to spend 15-20 minutes of outdoor time this week with your children. If you planted sunflowers at the beginning of the summer, check on their progress. Observe your sunflowers in the garden. Afterwards, follow the directions from the Handbook of Nature Study for a study of sunflowers. Anna Comstock suggests bringing one sunflower inside for closer observation. If you do not have sunflowers in your garden, check your local florist, farmers market, or with your neighbors who may have a sunflower to share.

3. Give the opportunity for a nature journal entry. Your sunflower can supply the inspiration for this week’s journal entry. You may also wish to check out some of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings for further inspiration.
Here is a link:

This challenge is part of my Garden Flowers ebook. This ebook has ten garden related challenges that will walk you through a study of garden flowers using the Handbook of Nature Study. In addition to the challenges already written, there will be more photos, nature journal examples, book lists, and totally new notebook pages designed to go with each of the Garden Flower Challenges.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

10 thoughts on “Outdoor Hour Challenge #29: Sunflower Study

  1. We actually have no sunflowers presently. They just recently died off. Walmart had no seeds last time that I checked. I’ll have to check Lowes. I’d like to keep them going continuously. My favorite flower!

  2. Kathryn wanted to link up the post she wrote a couple weeks ago about her sunflowers, so I did Mr Linky for her (under “Faith Girl”). You’ve seen this post of hers already, but being able to do Mr Linky is fun and I want to encourage nature study = fun!

  3. Thanks Barb, I finally tried the Outdoor Hour Challenge and we enjoyed ourselves greatly!

  4. My daughter Triss and I both posted about our experience, so we did Mr. Linky for both posts.

    Also, there is a link to a Spunky Caterpillar update in my Outdoor Challenge post! We had a little mishap, but hopefully he is still okay in there.

  5. This was such a fun challenge. Thanks so much again for great ideas you provide.

  6. I know this doesn’t have to do with sunflowers, but I wanted you to know that our chrysalid has emerged as a butterfly. (!) We have pictures:

    Your encouragement to continue to go out looking and exploring, even if we aren’t ‘prepared’, was certainly one reason we got to have this gift of raising a caterpillar to a butterfly. We just went out not expecting to see bees, but going anyway, and came home with this caterpillar.

    Thanks for what you do, Barb. I know it takes a lot of time and can be a little discouraging when it seems no one is responding, but we appreciate your efforts!

  7. Thank you so much for doing these challenges! We finally started our first challenge today and are really enjoying it!

  8. I just knew you’d do this challenge before ours bloomed, our entire garden is slow to develop this year! But my mom has tons growing in the wild by her house, so it was so fun to gather a lot and cut them up and really observe them up close which we don’t want to do with our own precious growing plants in our garden.

  9. I am so grateful for these challenges! I don’t always get them posted to my blog, but we are doing them!

  10. Not sure if this is the right spot to link but seems so. We just had to get this out of our systems! We’ve had the best time over the last three months watching our sunflowers. We’ve counted bees and dissected now. Had the BEST time!

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