The Sycamore :: Nature Study - Eva Varga

November 18, 20112
One of the Outdoor Hour Challenges this month is on Maple seeds.  I haven’t come across a Maple (that I recall) since we moved here – not even the ornamental Japanese Maple.  We are very familiar with Maple (see our previous post, Sugaring Time) so I opted to tweak the assignment just a little and focus on a tree that is less familiar to us … 
The Sycamore
We observed this specimen outside our city library and the kids remarked how similar the leaves appear to Maple.  They asked me if it was .. and I immediately directed them to look at the seeds.  The Maple’s seeds are very distinguishing as are the fruits or seed pods of what we discovered is the Sycamore.  I wasn’t familiar with this tree so we utilized a dichotomous key just as we had done earlier this month for a our leaf study

We read in a field guide that the Sycamore is sometimes called the Ghost of the Forest because the dark, older bark flakes off to reveal white chalky patches.  

While I read aloud from Isaac Newton (Giants of Science biography series by Kathleen Krull), the munchkins sketched the leaf, seed pod or fruit, and a bark segment in their journals.

Reading aloud was great .. they love the story .. but in doing so, I am not able to journal myself.  So … I may not always choose this option.  I’m delighted in their efforts though .. Sweetie even took time to show the scale of her drawings.  🙂


  • Barb-Harmony Art Mom

    November 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks for choosing a different tree and sharing your study with the OHC. I love it when families make the challenges fit their local area. Great information and journal entries…complete with scale! I am really glad you submitted this to the carnival.

  • Zonnah

    November 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I know nothing about sycamore trees and will have to keep my eyes out for one, the bark sounds really interesting to see.

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