Grade 4 – Young Explorers Recording Discoveries and Making Connections

Grade 4 visits to the garden were split over the October holiday, 01 to 11 October. It’s amazing to see how just ten days can bring so many changes at this time of year. Autumn is a time to notice changes in nature. The brambles are just about gone, although a few intrepid explorers were able to taste the last few brambles hanging on their purple, thorny canes. The conker tree has given over its treasures to the squirrels, while the medlars wait for the first frost to ripen. The orb spiders are busy capturing the last of the crane flies, hoping to fill their bellies before they all disappear for the year.

We spent each morning recording our observations through notes, mapping locations and sketching. Going out in small scouting parties, we explored the hedgerows, tracked the fox, crept up on the gulls and followed the wagtails. The weather changed by the moment, each day presenting us with its own challenges, as well as its own sense of adventure. It was great to see the kids who have been coming out to the project for several years interact with the newbies, taking them along to show them the hidden treasures.

In the afternoon we created class murals – drawing the plants, animals and elements of nature we have discovered over the years and then creating a web of connections. As we constructed our mural, we began to notice the interconnectedness of everything.  It turned out to be a work both of of art and of science.

The very end of the day was spent learning a little of John Muir, the great naturalist who was greatly responsible for the protection of the world’s wilderness through the creation of the first national parks.

These were days filled with curiosity and building a sense of connectedness. We took our time, concentrated on a couple big activities – and the high level of engagement was the payoff. These days were proof that less, done well, is definitely more!


Let’s see if we can get closer.
(Click photo to view Grade 4 – Phillips Gallery)

Do you see how big this one is?
(Click photo to view Grade 4 – Sedjo Gallery)

When we slow down, there is a lot more to see!
(Click photo to view Grade 4 – Kish Gallery)

Look, did you see that?
(Click photo to view Grade 4 – Howe Gallery)

Everything here is connected one way or the other. Even humans!
(Click photo to view Grade 4 – Robertson Gallery)


2 thoughts on “Grade 4 – Young Explorers Recording Discoveries and Making Connections

  1. I was lucky to be able to accompany Ms. Elaine’s class on this outing, as Canons park is such a magical place, even in the rain. For rain it did, sometimes pouring, sometimes misting, and altogether very conducive – not – to an activity involving making and then putting observations to paper. But maybe it was the rain that slowed the kids down, for instead of hurrying from place to place it was great to see them stopping for longer periods of time to plot locations and draw and describe things they observed. Sheets of paper got wet, some ripped, some ended up in clumps, Lee tried to protect his camera with a towel :-), then an umbrella, we all ended up wet but having learned such a lot. After lunch, the kids took it well that there was no more going outside due to the weather, as it was pouring at that point, but instead focused on the next activity, a mural of interconnectivity. They ended up with an amazing work, both of art and science, as Lee described. Wonderful drawings of animals, plants and elements of nature were made, books were consulted to make sure the pictures resembled the real thing, before the cards were added to large sheets of paper, and then the lines of interconnectivity were drawn, with explanations as to what kinds of connections existed. Time flies at Cannons Park, and so after learning about John Muir it was goodbye, until the next time, at least for the kids. Thanks, Lee, for all you are teaching them, and for making it such a special place.

  2. I had the fortune to accompany Mrs Sedjo’s class and to enjoy seeing the class in this unique learning environment that is Canons Park. I felt I had a glimpse into what learning was all about before modern technology and “pressure to achieve” permeated every subject and aspect of our lives. I personally feel we are constantly in such a rush, ferrying kids from one activity to the next, even at weekends or when on holiday, that they do not have time to stop and soak in what surrounds them and to ponder about it.
    Lee just told the class to investigate the grounds and take notes. The children chose their own team mates and went exploring, making discoveries like which different kinds of webs a spider will create to catch various preys, how magpies and crows argue which branch to occupy, the way a grasshopper moves from leaf to leaf and even jumps on Lee’s leg, what crawls under a log, and so on.
    The class regrouped and excitedly shared their findings. Later Lee asked the children to form a circle, close their eyes and just “listen” for a few minutes to their surroundings, then describe what they had heard and felt. The replies came aplenty, often with a tone of stupor at what nature was telling them and how much they were learning outside the classroom.
    I think a few kids thought Canons Park is the best “classroom” ever – or at least the kid in me did!

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