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OHC More Nature Study #6 Chipmunks

“While the chipmunk is a good runner and jumper, it is not so able a climber as is the red squirrel, and it naturally stays nearer the ground.”
Handbook of Nature Study page 239

OHC More Nature Study #6
Chipmunks


Inside Preparation Work:

Chipmunk illustration
Golden Treasury of Natural History from 1952

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Go on a chipmunk hunt! Spend a few minutes of your Outdoor Hour time for this challenge looking for chipmunks. Chipmunks and squirrels are diurnal, or active during the day.
  • If you observe a squirrel instead of a chipmunk, make some observations and comparisons. Compare color, stripes, tail, and behavior.
Squirrel illustration
Golden Treasury of Natural History from 1952 – love the expression

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Give the opportunity for discussion and follow-up to your chipmunk hunt. Complete a notebook page (ebook users), a nature journal page, and/or the coloring page (ebook users only) for you nature journal.
  • Advanced Follow-Up: Compare a chipmunk and a squirrel by careful observation. Subjects can include: stripes, tails, behavior, diet, size, voice.
  • Advanced Follow-Up: Research and record in your nature journal about the method the chipmunk uses for building his home. There is a notebook page in the ebook to record your study.

Additional Links:
Chipmunk Lapbook and Unit Study on HomeschoolShare.com
For Advanced Study: Chipmunks.

More Nature Study Autumn

This challenge is part of the More Nature Study – Autumn series. All of the challenges are gathered into one ebook with notebooking pages (regular and for advanced students) and additional resources. You can gain access to this ebook by purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. See the Join Us page by clicking the link at the top of the website for more information about what comes with your Ultimate membership.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #52 Mammals-Raccoon


Outdoor Hour Challenge
#52 Mammals-Raccoon

Here is a video from National Geographic about raccoons…very short. I want to warn those that have sensitive young ones that this video shows the raccoon eating crocodile eggs and babies…briefly. You will want to preview.
Raccoons

“None other of our little brothers of the forest has such a mischievous countenance as the coon. The black patch across the face and surrounding the eyes like large goggles, and the black line extending from the long, inquisitive nose directly up the forehead give the coon’s face an anxious expression; and the keenness of the big, beady, black eyes and the alert, “sassy” looking , broadly triangular ears, convince one that the anxiety depicted in the face is anxiety lest something that should not be done be left undone; and I am sure that anyone who has had experience with pet coons will aver that their acts do not belie their looks.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 247-148

1. Read pages 247-250 in the Handbook of Nature Study about the raccoon. If you want to share some additional resources, there are some listed at the end of the challenge.

“The raccoon lives in hollow trees or caves along the banks of streams. It sleeps during the day and seeks its food at night. It sleeps during the winter.”

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Story 31. Use the illustration on page 206 to prompt some simple narrations from your child.


3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. Raccoons hibernate in the winter so there will be little chance of actually observing one this week. Instead, look for any animal tracks in the snow or mud. Keep your eyes out for any mammal that comes your way this week.

4. Record in your nature journal any interesting objects you found this week.
Did you see a bird or a mammal to record?
It might be fun to make a list of all the mammals you have seen during our focus on mammals over the last eight weeks.
Complete a mammal notebook page for the raccoon to record interesting facts you learned and want to remember.

Additional resources for this challenge:
Raccoon coloring page
Raccoon notebook page on Enchanted Learning
Raccoon information:
Online book with audio about raccoon
Raccoon tracks

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #51 Mammals-Wolf, Fox, and Dog

Outdoor Hour Challenge #51
Mammals: Wolf, Fox, and Dog

You are in for a treat with this challenge with an episode from PBS Nature to watch if you choose to do so. I am strongly recommending that you preview this episode. I tried to note what might be objectionable in each part. Even with all these warnings, I truly think this is an amazing episode. There is so much about winter in Yellowstone and so many mammals in their natural setting. The photography of Yellowstone in this episode is fantastic and it made me want to plan a trip to this beautiful spot in the near future.

PBS Nature In the Valley of the Wolves (Set In Yellowstone National Park)

  • Part one shows the wolves hunting and then killing an elk-tastefully done but still it might be upsetting to sensitive children. Includes a red fox and coyotes as well. Shows a coyote eating a vole.
  • Part two is all about breeding season so you will want to preview for appropriateness for your family. There is also a dead elk scene where the coyotes and an eagle are eating.
  • Part three has two wolf packs fighting. Dead elk being eaten in this part as well. Wolves chase and eat the coyote….it made me cry. River otters and eagles. Red fox and a coyote are shown hunting and then eating some sort of rodents. Bison being eaten by the wolves and birds.
  • Part four has a grizzly bear and cubs. Another elk being hunted and killed by wolves and eaten by the grizzly.Lots of baby animal stories in this part.
  • Part five opens up with coyotes eating an elk, blood. Very sad end to the wolf pups…made me tear up. Magnificent elk shots.

1. Read pages 250-260 of the Handbook of Nature Study about the wolf, the fox, and the dog. Studying the dog will help your child get a better understanding of the wolf and the fox. Not many of us will ever study a fox or a wolf up close but we can study the dog with great ease. After reading these pages in the Handbook, have a few ideas to share with your children. Use the dog as your point of comparison when talking about fur, teeth, and paws.

2. This week’s challenge includes two opportunities for observation:
*Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. If you have snow or mud, look for animal tracks. Use this time to discuss why mammals, especially the wolf, fox, and dog have fur or hair. Look for any signs of animals as you walk around your own yard or down your own street. Ask your children where they think they might see a mammal. Don’t forget that you can also observe other mammals such as cats and squirrels if you have the opportunity. A dog’s tracks are easily recognizable and once you know what to look for, you will start to see them everywhere.

*If you have a pet dog, use the activities on pages 258-260 to learn more about your own dog. Many of the activities assume you have access to a cat to compare to the dog but you can skip to number 6 if you do not have a cat to study alongside the dog.


3. Supplemental reading: The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Story 27 and 28. Use the illustrations on pages 164, 170, and 177 to prompt some simple narrations from your child about the wolf, the fox, and the dog.

4. For your nature journal you can sketch the parts of the dog that you studied during your observation time. The teeth, the ears, and the paws make great subjects for the nature journal. If you did not study a dog, you can complete a notebook page for any or all of the challenges subjects: the wolf, the fox, or the dog. See the additional resources below for information and photos. Another suggestion is to make several entries for different breeds of dogs that you know or are interested in learning about for this challenge.

Additional resources for this challenge:

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #50 Mammals-Skunk and Badger

Outdoor Hour Challenge
#50 Skunk and Badger

This week there are some great videos to share with your children to capture their interest.

PBS Nature Skunk
This video series is excellent and we learned more than we ever wanted to know about skunks. You must watch this for yourself even if you don’t watch it with your children.

Here is a video about badgers.

Wow! Those critters can dig!

1. Read pages 245-247 in the Handbook of Nature Study.
Resources for the skunk
Resource for badger

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 22-23. Use the illustrations on pages 135 and 110 to prompt a narration your child’s narration if needed.


3. This week during your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time, keeping an eye out for signs of mammals as you walk. In our area we many times will smell a skunk but not see him. If you have the opportunity over the next few weeks, point out the fragrance of a skunk to your children.

  • Another idea this week is to carry a small pouch or bag to collect any nature items you find while you are outdoors.
  • Start or add to a nature collection. (see challenge 6)
  • Did you find any animal tracks this week? Take photos or make a mental note of how they looked for further research.

4. After your walk, take a few minutes to discuss anything your child found interesting during their outdoor time. If they collected items in a bag, pull those objects out and take a closer look with your magnifying lens. Use a Mammal notebook page to record what you learned about skunks and badgers this week. Complete the Seasonal Weather Study notebook page and file it in with your autumn observations. You could talk about the differences between what you observed in autumn and those things you recorded this time. How is the scene you drew this week different from the autumn scene? How are the temperatures different? Is there a difference in the number of hours of daylight?

Additional resources for this challenge:

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #49 Mammals-Bats


Outdoor Hour Challenge  
#49 Bats
(You may also like to check out the Summer Series challenge for Bats.) 

In order to have some organization and flow to the Outdoor Hour Challenges and their focus on mammals, I found it necessary to schedule only a fraction of the stories in the Burgess Animal Book for Children. We are going to skip stories 15-20 this week and go right to story 21. Please share any of the skipped stories with your children when you have time in your schedule.


Here is a general video about bats. Please preview the video because parts of it may make your children a little squeamish. There is also a reference to evolution.

Mammals that fly and have echolocation!

1. Read pages 241-245 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Although the lesson for bats states that it should not be given unless you can directly observe bats in person, I think this interesting creature deserves his own Outdoor Hour Challenge. Make sure to watch the video about bats and then proceed with the lesson suggestions. If you need additional information, use the resources at the end of this challenge.

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Story 21. Use the illustration on page 128 to prompt a narration after reading the story about the Little Brown Bat.


3. This week during your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time, look for any mammals in your neighborhood or in a near-by park. Many of us will not find any mammals to observe or signs of mammals like scat or tracks. This should not discourage us from taking the time to be outdoors with our children.

Try some of the techniques that we have worked on in the past.

  • Stand or sit quietly and see what you can hear (Challenge 2).
  • Take a magnifying lens and look at an object up close (Challenge 8).
  • Make a small square with yarn and see what you can find in to look at within that small square.(Challenge 9)
  • Look at the sky and observe the clouds. (Challenge 39)

Use the methods that have worked in the past and see what you can come up with this week to share with your children.

4. After your walk, discuss any interesting things that you observed. Help your child to find words for their experience. Record their words on paper and have them sketch a simple drawing for their nature journal. Use some of the ideas that worked in the past like a rubbing of a leaf or feather. Take photos for your nature journals. Research and record what you learned about the bat this week from reading in the Handbook of Nature Study. One idea would be to sketch and record how a bat’s wings are different from a bird’s wings. You could discuss why a bat is considered a mammal and how it differs from other mammals that we have studied. Keep it simple but make some connections this week.

Additional resources for this challenge:

More information on the Little Brown Bat
Ozark Big Eared Bat coloring page
Lots of activities on bats at Enchanted Learning
Life cycle of the bat notebook page
Big Brown Bat information and coloring page

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #48 Mammals-Rats and Beavers


Outdoor Hour Challenge
#48 Rats and Beavers

How about some beaver videos to get some interest started for your Outdoor Hour Challenge?

YouTube Video with Beaver Information:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZVbKwDmr-o

YouTube Video on Beaver Lodges:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuMRDZbrdXc

YouTube Video: Beavers in the Snow
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgAux-KaaMk

We found what looks like a beaver lodge on our walk a few days ago. This one isn’t as large as the one that we observed before but it was still exciting to see in real life. If you look closely, you may be able to see where something has been going in and out. It may be that this is an old or abandoned beaver lodge and something else has taken up residence…not sure.

1. Read pages 219-223 in the Handbook of Nature Study. As you read, highlight or underline some facts you can share with your children. Share some interesting facts about the muskrat with your child.

You may wish to share what makes a rodent different than other mammals. Here is a link to read with them about rodents.
What is a Rodent? (information and activity page)

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 12-14. After you read each story, pause and let your child narrate back some facts they learned from the reading. Pages 60, 73, and 79 show illustrations for the animals discussed in this week’s challenge. Use these illustrations if needed to help your child narrate some facts about the animals in this week’s challenge.


3. This week during your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time, look for any mammals in your neighborhood or in a near-by park. Many of us do not have muskrats or beavers in our region but we can still take this opportunity to spend time outdoors with our children. If you are fortunate enough to have access to an area with muskrats, the observation ideas in the Handbook of Nature Study suggest looking for muskrat tracks in the mud along a creek, pond, or marsh. The book also suggests looking to see what kind of mark the muskrat’s tail makes in the mud and snow.

You can also use this week’s walk to use all of your senses. Challenge yourselves to touch, observe, smell, listen, and perhaps even taste something while on your nature walk this week. (Caution your children about tasting anything without asking you first.)

4. For your nature journal you can sketch something you observed during your outdoor time or you can complete a mammal notebook page for the muskrat or the beaver. You may wish to sketch the simple diagram on page 220 showing how a muskrat makes his burrow. You could also do some additional research and find two different kinds of rats to learn about and then record what you learn in your nature journal. Another idea would be to compare and contrast a muskrat and a beaver in your nature journal.

Additional resources for this challenge:

Mammals Notebooking Pages

You may wish to check out this product from NotebookingPages.com. I am an affiliate for this fantastic program and would love for you to see if it is a great fit for your family. We used these pages for many years in our own homeschool.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #46 Mammals: Woodchuck/Groundhog, Prairie Dog, Marmots

Outdoor Hour Challenge #46
Woodchuck/Groundhog, Prairie Dog, Marmot

Here is an informational video about woodchuck/groundhogs:

Great video introduction.

Have you ever seen a marmot? Here is a cute video to introduce you to this mammal.

1. Read pages 229-232 in the Handbook of Nature Study. As you read, highlight or underline some facts you can share with your children. There are observation ideas on page 231 and many of these suggestions are ones that you can continue to make over the next few seasons.

Here is an additional fact sheet on woodchuck:
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/groundhog.html

Information on marmots:
http://www.marmotburrow.ucla.edu/marmots.html

Prairie Dog information with video:
http://www.desertusa.com/dec96/du_pdogs.html

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 7-8. After you read each story, pause and let your child narrate back some facts they learned from the reading. This could be as simple as looking at the illustrations on pages 48 and 54 and having them tell you a few things about the woodchuck, the marmot, or the prairie dog.


3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. Look for signs of mammals as you walk. Look for tracks, burrows, holes, or scat. If you are able to observe one of this challenge’s featured mammals, be sure to use some of the observation ideas from page 231. Be alert for any opportunity to observe a mammal during your outdoor time. So far we have learned about rabbits and squirrels, but be on the look out for more common mammals like dogs, cats, or horses.

4. After your outdoor time, if you observed a mammal, you can look it up in the Handbook of Nature Study. For your nature journal you can sketch something you saw during your outdoor time. One additional idea is to compare two animals that we have already studied. You can compare a rabbit and a prairie dog or a squirrel and a prairie dog. Make sketches or make a list of the comparisons. You may also use any of the additional resources for your nature journal.

Additional resources for this challenge:

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #45 Mammals: Squirrels


Here comes this week’s challenge. I happen to have a squirrel that visits my backyard and from time to time he gives us a little show. You can be sure we will be doing some direct observation this week. We also noticed some signs of squirrels on our last Winter Wednesday walk so we will be looking up some information about that too.
Outdoor Hour Challenge

#45 Squirrels

(You may also like to use the Autumn Series Challenge for Squirrels for additional information.) 


1. Read pages 233-237 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Use your highlighter to mark the sections with facts you can share with your children. There are plenty of observation suggestions in Lesson 57 on pages 236 and 237. Keep these ideas in mind as you take your nature walk this week.

“The squirrel’s legs are short because he is essentially a climber rather than a runner; the hips are very strong, which insures his power as a jumper, and his leaps are truly remarkable.”

“The squirrel has two pairs of gnawing teeth which are very long and strong, as in all rodents, and he needs to keep busy gnawing hard things with them, or they will grow so long that he cannot use them at all and will starve to death.”

“During the winter, the red squirrel does not remain at home except in the coldest weather, when he lies cozily with his tail wrapped around him like a fur neck-piece to keep him warm.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 234 and 235

Here is an additional fact sheet on squirrels:
https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/eastern-gray-squirrel/#eastern-gray-squirrel-closeup.jpg

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 4-6. Take a few minutes after reading each story to have your child narrate to you some interesting points from the story. Use the illustrations on pages 30, 36, and 41 of the book to get the narration going if they are having trouble getting started.

3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. As you walk, discuss where you might find a squirrel in your neighborhood. Remind your child where a squirrel lives and what it eats. If you know you have a squirrel in your yard or at your local park, take along some nuts or seeds to put out and observe the squirrel eating. Never feed a squirrel by hand. Don’t worry if you cannot observe a squirrel this week. Enjoy your outdoor time and observe any mammals that you come into contact with during your walk.

4. For your nature journal you can write out your observations from your squirrel watching. Use the observation suggestions for ideas to include in your entry: describe the color of the fur, how the eyes are placed, what do the paws look like, how does the squirrel climb up and down a tree, the sound the squirrel makes as he expresses himself, show the tracks that the squirrel makes in the snow. If you did not observe a squirrel, you can use any of the additional resources to include in your nature journal this week.

Would you like a printable notebook page to use along with your squirrel nature study?

Squirrel or Rodent Nature Study

Rodent+Notebook+Page+image.jpg

Note this is an Amazon affiliate link to a product that I have used and loved for many,many years.

 

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #44 Mammals: Rabbits and Hares

Outdoor Hour Challenge #44
Mammals: Rabbits and Hares

1. Read pages 214-219 in the Handbook of Nature Study.

In this case, I would actually mark sections to read to your child about rabbits as a way to introduce them to an animal they probably haven’t seen in the wild. You do not need to read the whole section on rabbits but only as much as you think they will be interested in hearing. If you are using The Burgess Book of Animals, you may wish to skip reading from the Handbook of Nature Study to them altogether.

Although few of us will have access to a real rabbit of any sort to study up close, children will enjoy reading about the rabbit and then remembering some facts about rabbits for any future opportunities that may arise. Be creative and see if you can visit a pet shop that has rabbits that you can observe or let others know that you are studying rabbits and they may know someone who owns a rabbit that you can study with your children.

Here is a great link to read with your children that includes photos of the cottontail rabbit as well as images of the rabbit’s tracks.
Cottontail Rabbit

2. Supplemental Reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 1-3. After you read each chapter, stop and pause for a little discussion about the animals in each story. See if your child can narrate back to you a few facts about each animal. If narration is new to your child, you may need to prompt them at first but it does get easier as you practice. Use the illustrations if you need to get them started.

“The purpose of this book is to acquaint the reader with the larger groups-orders, families, and divisions of the latter, so that typical representatives may readily be recognized and their habits understood.”
The Burgess Animal Book, Preface

3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. Ask your children where they think that they might see a mammal. If you have snow or mud, look for animal tracks of any kind. Look for any other signs of animals as you walk. Look for gnawing marks on trees and plants. Look for scat or cones or seeds left from a meal.

“The cotton-tail thrives amid civilization; its color protects it from sight; its long ears give it warning of the approach of danger; and its long legs enable it to run by swift, long leaps.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 218

Don’t forget that you can also observe other mammals if you have the opportunity. Cats, dogs, squirrels, and horses may be available. You can draw attention to the similarities and differences between a rabbit and these other mammals. For example: How are a cat’s and a rabbit’s ears different? Why do you think they are different? How are a cat and a rabbit alike? (both have fur, both have four legs, etc.)

4. For your nature journal this week, try sketching two different kinds of rabbits. Use The Burgess Animal Book as a reference or you can Google Cottontail rabbit, Northern hare, Swamp rabbit, Snowshoe rabbit, Jack rabbit. (Please preview before you share with your children because many times the images are of dead rabbits.) As an alternative to a nature journal, see the resources below for printable activities.

Rabbit Lapbook on Homeschool Share
Rabbit Coloring Page

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