I have a confession to make. I do next to nothing for school in the winter. I am happy if we just get our Math and English finished and then we move on to things that are warm and completely non-textbook. But even though this hibernation is a yearly ritual of mine, we hit Spring and I find it doesn’t matter a lick. My brain is more awake in the sunshine but the slow season of learning very little from me is still filled with the gentle art of learning for them. They may not be reading textbooks and doing worksheets, but they are making bread, watching educational tv shows, naming the birds we spy in the naked trees, noting that the sun is lower in the sky and having conversations about personal relationships that always seem tight and tender in the colder months when we are all sequestered indoors together. But Spring. Glorious Spring! When Spring comes, my mind wakes up with the dawn (which rises at a reasonable hour) and is ready to teach and learn again. My children, the sponges that they are, are ready to enjoy lessons again with art, and music, and literature, and experiments, and poetry and all of the things I bring when my mind is out of that cloud of winter.
And so we find ourselves nose deep in nature study and biology this Spring. As I wander the backyard with my fur-babies, I find new things to study each day. And when the microscope came this week it added a whole other level to the already inspired lessons.
Scientific Name: Crocus Vernus
Handbook of Nature Study - Page 549
We learned that crocus are not actually bulb plants but have a bulb like tuber that is called a “corm”. They divide by creating several baby corms in the larger tuber and then storing their food there throughout the season for the new crocus to come up late next Winter.
Also, if a crocus is not pollenated, instead of falling off, the sepals (interior petals) and outside petals will open and roll down so that the breeze will take the pollen to neighboring crocus and the stamen can pick up pollen from the neighboring flowers on the breeze. A nice little insurance policy to protect against the late frosts that may take out the earliest pollinators who would normally do the work for the crocus.
It was easy to get some pollen off the anthers of this flower. We placed some on a slide and added the filiment slide on top so that we could check out what it looked like under magnification.
Crocus Pollen under the microscope at 40X:
Same at 400x
My nature notebook gets an entry just like the kids each day, mainly because I think it’s fun but it has been interesting to see what each person remembers in their dictation and how the entries differ from each other and yet are all accurate.
It is shaping up to be a great learning season.