Saturday, June 2, 2018

Enjoy a Fresh Water Habitat Exploration Day - A Pictorial Report and Free Printable Lesson Plan

Would you like to get outside to explore rivers, ponds, and streams with friends?  Then, you might appreciate the free printable Fresh Water Habitat lesson plan and pictorial report I am finally sharing today!

{Some links which follow are affiliate ones. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.}

I say "finally", because a blog reader recently brought to my attention the fact that I never finished sharing about the 
Habitat Explorers Co-op class I taught four years ago in May,  My apologies!  I thought I had done so and am happily doing so now at her request.  I hope doing so benefits you, too.

A Free Lesson Plan for You!

First things first: you can get a FREE pdf of the Freshwater Habitat Plan I made to print and adapt for your own family, co-op, or club's use.

Resources for Our Fresh Water Habitat Lesson

For our freshwater lesson in nature, we used:

At home, we had plenty of other related books available for browsing and research.  Some of them included:



Highlights from Our Fresh Water Habitat Meeting

Now, enjoy a peak at how the plan became reality:

We began the outing by gathering in a field, reintroducing ourselves, and reviewing prior learning.  Then, we got right into the day's focus: fresh water habitats by having a chat and playing a game.

I asked the children what they already know about fresh water habitats and what they hope to explore or come to know, and, then, explained that there are three main types of freshwater habitats:

  1.  ponds and lakes
  2. wetlands
  3. streams and rivers 

I, then, asked three children to stand holding signs that said “pond and lakes, “wetlands”, and “streams and rivers” before grouping the rest of the children up so non-readers and readers could be together and giving each pair or group a strip of paper with a description on it.

The children then had to run to the child who held a sign for whatever water habitat they thought the descriptor matched with and hand their strip to that child. 

After that, children ran back to me for new strips.

Once all the strips had been matched by the children, I explained that some of the descriptors could match more than one type of freshwater habitat, but that, for the purpose of the game, each type of habitat should be described by ONLY four descriptors. I, then, had the children discuss ideas and make possible adjustments so that each type of fresh water habitat had four descriptors before, finally, revealing the “right” answers and discussing any observations and questions that came up.

After that, it was scavenger hunt time!  I gave small groups of children a checklist of items to spy - and photograph if they wished - as we explored the nature preserve.  Without delay, they were off and runnig!

We had barely made it onto the trail when children were calling out for photographs, "I found wet leaves!"

The hunt helped the children notice things around them as they joyfully trekked through the paths.

My heart never tires of seeing children walking together in the woods.

It also never tires of seeing them explore - as my youngest did as soon as we hit our first water crossing!

That crossing soon found many friends literally jumping into our day's focus - fresh water!

Everyone was having so much fun, we took a long break at this crossing.

Walking in water just drew the kids in!

Seriously, they were crossing over the water on the bridge, then through it down below, then back over it... enjoying themselves so much!

Finally, we moved on and continued along the trail to our lunch spot, where I read a book to those who were interested during our lunch break.

After lunch, it was time to find the leaf litter nets we'd placed in the moving water the week prior.

The older children enjoyed adventuring to collect the leaf litter bags.

Although we thought we had put them in good spots, we could not easily find them all at first.

But, keen eyes prevailed!

And the bags were recovered.

Meanwhile, one child found a dead fish, which ended up becoming a specimen for learning.

The leaf litter became the larger draw though.

The children were given tweezers, magnifying glasses, and more so they could pick through the litter to find creatures.

Of course, some crazy kids opted to take breaks to explore the water further and - eek - one or two of them also ended up with tiny leeches which we had to pull off!  (Oops!  That was an unexpected lesson!)

Other children enjoyed taking breaks to toss pebbles into a pond.

Even our youngest friends, though, did not take breaks long, but, rather, dug right into our explorations!

It was wonderful to see friends so engaged in discovery!

Better yet, one of our moms has a biology background and was able to help the children pinpoint the different species of critters they discovered.

They sure did discover a lot of them!

I cannot express how glad I am that this lesson engaged the children so much!  It was a bit beyond my background, but, together with other moms and the kids, it became an experience we all enjoyed and learned from!

Then, after our formal explorations ended, it was time for free play and fellowship.  Bubbles...

Hugs and love!

Stick play.

Private chats. (I still wonder what secrets were being shared here...)

And even a friend gifting my then recent First Holy Communicant with a saint book he relishes to this day.  (The gift was an unexpected surprise and just one example of how wonderful it is to share time with fellow Catholics!  I just love when learning, fellowship, and faith come together!)
As you can see from all the photos,the outing proved to be another absolutely ideal day of Habitat Explorers.  In fact, it remains among my fondest homeschool memories.

Our final day of the co-op - on meadows - does, too.  I will try to get the lesson plan for that outing up within a week or so!

In the meantime, feel free to browse all o f our other Habitat Explorers Co-op posts.
Favorite Habitat Books

Intro Lesson
Woodland Habitat Outing
If you use all or parts of this lesson, I'd love to hear about it in a comment here or on the Training Happy Hearts Facebook page.  I'd also be delighted if you'd take the time to share your own tried-and-true inspiration and resources, which may inspire our future outdoor experiences!  Thanks!


Related Posts with Thumbnails