Friday, February 1, 2008

Indoor Nature Study Idea- Tabletop Garden

"But what is the use of being a 'very observant
child,' if you are not put in the way of things worth

Charlotte Mason Volume 1 Pages 69- 70
One of the ideas of a Charlotte Mason education is to help our children to become observant learners about the world. That is one of the reasons I love this project- it is all about observation. I have been wanting to try out this indoor nature study idea for a while now. Today I went to the store and bought some root vegetables. I bought a carrot, turnip, parsnip, yam and rutabaga. (Did you know in Ireland a rutabaga is called a swede? And rutabaga is also very fun to say.) You will want to pick vegetables that have a bit of green on the top (see third photo).
You are going to cut about 2" off the top of each vegetable. Stick three or four toothpicks near the very top of each vegetable. Set the toothpicks on the rim of a jar and fill the jar with water so that it the water level is above the bottom of your vegetable (as shown above).
Here are my five vegetables ready for observation. My turnip was too big to fit in the rim of my jar, so I placed it in a shallow bowl of water. If you don't have jars, you could do this with all of your vegetables. I even read that you could just set the vegetables on a wet paper towel on a plate. Place your vegetables somewhere they will receive some sunshine or at least some light each day. Check your vegetables each day and record your observations. You will also want to check each day to make sure the bottoms of the vegetables remain submerged in the water.
I put together a free Tabletop Garden Notebook page (seen in photo above) to help you record your observations. Check back in a couple days and I will show you what has happened with my tabletop garden. This is a very easy, inexpensive nature study project (I think I spent $2.39 for all five of my vegetables). I would love to hear about the tabletop gardens you all start. Be sure to check out my other free downloads (links are on my sidebar).


Barb said...

Thanks for the worksheet...maybe your brothers should observe too.

Great project.


Anonymous said...

oh neat! i've seen the "sweet potato" plant thing before, but how cool to put a variety of root vegetables together for a combined study! I'll be checking back, for sure, to see how your plants grow. This is definitely something we'll be doing in the future.

You might be interested in trying your hand at propagating a pineapple plant, too! We did!

Click on the PROPAGATING link at that blog post and it will tell you how to do it!

have a great week, and thanks for sharing!

TeacherBritt said...

This is wonderful! Thanks for all the details and the pictures. It helps a visual learner like me truly understand how to complete the project. We can't wait to do this!

Be Blessed,

Brittney said...

This is a FANTASTIC idea! I think I am going to start this with my boys (4&7). I noticed in your most recent blog entry about your tabletop garden that they are flowering! I had no idea! Maybe I'll learn a little something too! Oh, and your notebooking pages will be very useful!
Thanks for sharing this! We'll keep checking back for the progress!
(King Alfred Academy)

Anonymous said...

This is something I can't wait to try with my 2 kidlets, ages 5 and 7...Thanks for the wonderful and inexpensive idea...
Have a great week!!

bab said...

Thats great project.I love to do with my Kiddos.Tons of thanks for posting about nature studies and inspiring us.
The link of the Tabletop garden notebook page is going to but dont know how to download file from there.seems like i'm missing something.


Wendy R said...

My boys will love to do this! Especially the older one....He loves plants!

Rebekah said...

Wow! We will be doing this. Would love to see the pineapple one mentioned in the comments too, but can't view it for some reason. Bummer.