ages 6-8 and 8-10
At Bob Jones Nature Center, we pride ourselves on providing excellent and meaningful instruction to children through an integrated curriculum. We start with a large overarching concept such as Communities, Change, Power, Interactions, etc and investigate topics at that pertain to our site with regards to how they relate to the ‘big idea’.
This fall, the concept/theme we will use to guide our studies is ‘Communities’. Over the course of 4 months, we will explore our Ecosystem (Environment: Location, Climate, Soil, Flora, Fauna), relationships between various types of ecosystems found here and beyond, how humans fit in (both in positive and damaging ways), organisms/inhabitants within our ecosystem including plant needs (energy cycle): growth, harvest, preparing for next season and animal needs (energy cycle): birth, growth, preparing for winter.
For curriculum hounds, I realize the above information is important. For those of you just looking for your child to learn something worth learning in a hands-on, fun, and meaningful way, while being active and in nature with friends…well this is for you too! We cater to toddlers to 10 year olds. Though the same topics are studied by all participants, we approach each age group differently. Developmentally appropriate practices are of utmost importance to us as well as recognizing each child as an individual with varying strengths, challenges, interests, and perspective.
Please read below for more specific information on dates, topics, and details for fall classes. We welcome you to give us a call for help with registration, additional class information, or any other questions we can help you with.
You will notice that our age groups overlap a bit. We strongly believe that parents know their children best and allow for flexibility with age groupings to account for children who might do better with a younger group of children or would benefit being with children who are slightly more mature. Please do not use the flexibility to group a younger sibling with an older sibling just for the sake of siblings being together. Please use this as an opportunity to place your child in a group that makes sense as far as their individual level of maturity, academic ability, social skills, and physical stamina (older children do go longer and farther on the trail). If you have difficulty deciding where your child fits in best, please don’t hesitate to call us.
Children will explore nature through hands‐on activities, science experiments, nature lessons, stories, hikes, and crafts. Please wear closed toed shoes, clothing appropriate for outdoor weather, and bring water in a refillable container appropriate for a child to carry on their own.
Enrollment for home school classes are for the whole term. This allows children to participate in the curriculum the way it was intended as well as to form meaningful bonds with their peers while keeping the tuition per class more economical.
Home School Classes
Voyagers, ages 8-10 years
Trail Blazers, ages 6-8 years
Class size: min.4- max.12
Currently, we are offering home school classes 1 day per week. If enrollment fills and an additional section becomes necessary, we are open to offering additional home school classes. Currently both age groups will be offered on Wednesday afternoon from 1-3pm, but will be in different classrooms with different teachers, and in different places on the trail unless there are investigations better suited to do as a larger multi-age group.
Classes meet for 15 weeks (Aug 26th-Dec 19th)
Ecosystems-Environment: Location, Climate, Beauty, Soil, Flora, Fauna
For the first 5 sessions this fall, students will better acquaint themselves with our local ecosystem in a holistic manner. We will study location, climate, soil, plants, animals, and how all these things tie together to make north Texas a place of beauty, wonder, and discovery!
Aug. 26th-29th-Our Place in Space- This is a great introduction to the fall/winter term. We will learn how to use a map, compass, and gps unit to help answer the question: Where in the World Are We Anyhow? As always, we will devote much of our time to being outdoors, exploring, and learning the lay of the land.
Sept. 2nd-5th- Meteorology Megaminds- This week children will use what they have learned about our location from the previous week to help understand our local climate and weather patterns. We will spend time outside, measuring wind speed and direction, observing clouds, and setting up rain gauges for future continuing studies about our climate. How does our climate affect our ecosystem? Let’s find out together!
Sept. 9-12-Soil is not Dirt!- Back by popular demand, children will be closely inspecting a variety of soils in and around the nature center. Soil is alive! It’s full of fungi, arthropods, worms, bacteria, protozoa, and more. We will get a chance to see all of these things up close and personal through the use of hand lenses and microscopes as well as find out the role of each of these living organisms and why they are essential to the health of our planet.
Sept. 16-19 & 23-26-Flora and Fauna- Spanning over two weeks, we will be getting a broad overview on as many plants and animals that call the Cross Timbers ecosystem home as we can. From Stork’s Bill to wild onion, Four Nerve Daisies to Post Oaks…moles to White Tail Deer, and Red Fox to Coyote, we will spend time talking and walking while looking high and low to discover as much as we can about the vast array of plants and animals that live right in our own backyards.
Sept. 30-Oct. 3-Science is Beautiful- This week, children will reflect on previous week’s lessons as well as experiences they have gained on our trail to find beauty where ever it may lie. We will use hand lenses to help us see the tiniest details and finger frames to help us focus on our world piece by beautiful piece. We will find creative and artistic ways to represent the raw beauty of our natural world.
Ecosystems- Environment: Relationships among Ecosystems: prairie to pond, pond to river, river to ocean
The next three sessions, children will be studying relationships between the smaller ecosystems that fall under the general umbrella of the Cross Timbers Savannah. What is a prairie? How does a prairie relate to a pond? How does a pond relate to a river? How do our rivers here impact the ocean far away from us? All of these ecosystems are interconnected. We will discover the many ways the health of one ecosystem impacts another.
Oct. 7-10- Prairies and Ponds- Prairies and ponds are both part of a larger ecosystem called a Savanna. Students will learn what makes a prairie a prairie and how the health of our prairies impacts other ecosystems, including most notably, a pond.
Oct. 14-17- Ponds and Rivers- Once students have explored the land to water relationship from the previous week, we will look a little farther to see what happens next. How does the health of an inland body of water affect the health of a river? Where do rivers go?
Oct. 20-24- Rivers and Oceans- This week students will look at an even bigger picture of what happens to water. The rain that falls on a prairie will eventually make its way to other locations. Where does it go? Why does this matter? How do our actions here affect other ecosystems such as an ocean? What can we do here, that will make a difference in other places?
Ecosystems-Human Intervention (balance and equilibrium)-What can we do today?
Oct. 28-31- Lend a Hand- We will dedicate this week to exploring ways that people can be involved in bringing balance and equilibrium to the Cross Timbers ecosystem. We will emphasize and explore the idea that by caring for our own backyard, we not only impact local plants and wildlife, water quality, and more, but ecosystems far and near as well since we are all connected.
Ecosystems-Organisms/Inhabitants: Plant needs (energy cycle): Growth, Harvest, Preparing for next season, Animal needs (energy cycle): birth, growth, preparing for winter
As we progress further into the fall, we will fine tune our studies and learn more specifically about some of the topics touched upon in the first 5 sessions. We will be learning about the organisms and inhabitants of the Cross Timbers ecosystem. We will study energy cycles of the plants and animals and how the changing seasons trigger the next event on the path of a journey from birth to death, dormancy, hibernation, and more. This is a great time of preparation for many organisms and an exciting time of the year to study these changes in the environment.
Nov. 11-14 -Plants Power Down- This week we will study the energy cycle of plants. This is an important time of year when plants are powering down to prepare for winter. Some will come back in the spring and others will not. We will learn the difference between the two and document changes in the environment and the effect of those changes on plants in our garden and on our trail.
Nov. 18-21-Happy Harvesting- Fall is a time when many animals are busy harvesting the last of the nuts, seeds, and fruits of the season to store away for a long winter. Squirrels gather acorns, field mice gather seed heads, and even people are busy harvesting the final output from their gardens. We will spend time observing the animals around us prepare for the winter as well as harvesting some of the last crops our garden will produce this year.
Dec 2-5-Preparing for Winter- Many animals are in hyper drive getting ready for winter. Foxes are getting their burrows ready, birds are migrating, insects are dying, migrating, or preparing to hibernate for the winter. People can prepare the ground for the winter as well. This week, we will observe and take note of all the changes that surround us as both plants and animals continue to change in response to the seasonal changes taking place. Children will also get one last chance to spend time in our garden as we lay it to rest for the season.
Dec 9-12 Adaptive Animals- This will be our final focus for the fall term. We will spend time studying more specific ways in which animals adapt to changes in their environment with a particular focus on birds. Learn to identify local wild birds that over winter in our area and the transformations that occur in some birds with cooler weather.
Dec 16-19 A Day to Reflect and Celebrate Our Journey Together- Join us for this very special day where we talk about our favorite moments together, share information, and get a chance to discuss everything we have learned over the past few months. It’s a time for reflection, camaraderie, clarification, tying up loose ends, and a final wish for a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year.
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