Nature Explorer

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Wild Wind February 8, 2012

Bracing, invigorating wind today, and 14 middle schoolers out in the park with a puzzle for science class. Their job? Find the evolutionary history of plants, right in our own backyards. They looked for nonvascular and vascular plants. Gymnosperm — “naked” seed — plants. Angiosperm plants — plants that bear fruit — in the form of monocots — plants with parallel leaf veins and flowers with petals in multiples of three — and dicots — plants with with branching veined leaves and flowers with petals in multiples of four.

What did we find? Wild wind! Silliness! They were like puppies playing together, enlivened by being outside in the cool, wet wind.

AND we found moss — nonvascular plant — trees — vascular. Gymnosperms — pine trees. Angiosperms in the form of  dicots == trees and bushes — and monocots — grass. I could see what they had learned, just by what they could find and identify outdoors.

And what did I learn? I learned that if I want to wake up the enthusiasm, minds, and bodies of my students — take them outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes! There is healing power in the wild wind!


Susan A. Olcott

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