Our Wonderful World by Emery Lewis Howe is a rich nature study book available for free download covering backyard neighbors, feathered friends, garden life, four-footed comrades, and the earth and its neighbors. By covering one chapter a week, there are 32 weeks worth of lessons. Enjoy the complete series!
We are in the third section of the book, Garden Life, covering plants in 12 lessons including how plants grow, flowers, roots, stems, leaves, wildflowers, pollination, trees, seeds, and wheat/bread.
- This lesson will be much enhanced if a daisy is available for analysis.
- Add the field daisy, otherwise known as the ox-eye daisy or Leucanthemum vulgare, to your notebook.
- Add the other wildflowers mentioned to your notebook: dandelion, thistle, thoroughwort (eupatorium), sunflower, aster, dahlia, chrysanthemum, zinnia, marigold, tansy, artichoke, chicory, goldenrod, and everlasting.
- Review the anatomy of a flower. Identify the sepals, calyx and stamen of a flower.
- Discuss the principle offered that “what others tell you you may soon forget, but when you discover a new thing all by yourself, it is such fun that you will remember it without trouble.” Why do you think this is true? Can you think of an illustrative example in your own experience?
- You’ll find resources below for dissecting a daisy (including a virtual option if a live daisy is unavailable).
- Learn more about disk (or composite) flowers and the composite family flower structure.
- Make a list of composite flowers.
- Use a three-fold foldable or storybook paper to illustrate and explain the three different types of arrangements for composite flowers. (Use a four-fold foldable if you are including the category of “all three.”)
- Study the wildflowers in your area. Make a list of them. What insects visit each? Which plants make seeds? You’ll find recording forms below.
- Make a wildflower collection. Select one specimen of each type in your area to press, label and keep.
- Something to do #1: You can read about the Shasta daisy at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens or in the Martha Stewart Shasta Daisy guide.
- Something to do #2: Narrate the Shasta daisy story — written, or oral for the younger student.
- Something to do #3 & 4: You’ll find nature journal paper below that will be perfect for recording the composite flowers you find near where you live.
- Memorize Psalm 65:9 or Isaiah 40:8, and use for copywork or dictation.
- Read, memorize, and recite “Daisies” by Bliss William Carman.
- More about flowers from the Book of Knowledge:
You can make the flowers and leaves you pick in the country or in the garden last many years by pressing them and pasting them on sheets of paper….
Leaves and flowers fade and become crumpled soon after you pick them unless you take special precautions. Wrap your collections in waxed paper as you gather them. If they have dried and stiffened before you get home, freshen them by putting them in water. Or you can start pressing and drying your leaves, flowers and small plants as soon as you gather them. The most convenient way is simply to slip them between the pages of a magazine or large book that has leaves of rough or pulp paper. (Smooth or “slick” paper is not good because it does not absorb water so fast.) If you put more than one leaf or flower between the same two pages, make sure the specimens do not touch each other. Spread the leaf or flower out carefully and make sure that it lies perfectly flat; then carry the magazine flat. It is a good idea to write the name of the plant, if you know it, on the margin of the page; also, the date and the place where you collected it.
Don’t collect too much in one day. A few good specimens, carefully selected and properly prepared are worth more than a basketful of withered remnants. Whatever you do, don’t destroy rare species or cultivated specimens. If you ask permission, the owner of a garden will usually be glad to let you help yourself to a few flowers and leaves.
When you get home, spread your leaves and flowers out flat between sheets of newspaper. Then pile on several layers of newspaper and place the heaviest books in the house on top. The purpose is to let the specimens dry flat. Change them to new magazines or papers every day until they are dry enough to remain flat. You may have to change the papers three or four times before the plants are fairly dry. Then put the plants between dry newspapers for the last time and let them stay there, under pressure, for several days more or even longer than this.
When the plants are thoroughly dry, you are ready to mount them on sheets of fairly stiff paper or thin cardboard…. Use glue that is quite thick; if the glue you have seems too thick, you can thin it with a little water. You can either apply the glue to the specimen with a brush or spread the glue on a glass plate and then lay the specimen on the glue. In any case you must make sure that the glue comes in contact with every part of the one surface of the specimen….
When the specimen is on the mounting paper, lay the wax paper over it and then you can press down on the wax paper instead of touching the specimen directly. Again pile heavy books on top, making sure that everything is kept perfectly flat. Let the whole arrangement remain for a couple of days more until the glue has dried thoroughly.
Now you have a specimen that will last as long as you do if you take care not to bend the mounting.
“Collecting Things Outdoors: Flowers and Leaves,” The Book of Knowledge
Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature Study covers plants beginning on page 453, and continuing through page 731. The beginning pages cover how to begin the study of plants and their flowers, and then follow guidelines for investigating specific wildflowers, weeds, garden flowers, cultivated crop plants, trees, and flowerless plants. The study of wildflowers begins on page 460. You’ll find the daisy and many of the other flowers mentioned in the weed section.
Composite or Daisy Family
Helpful guide with a list of common composite flowers.
List of wildflower resources and guides by state.
Determine if the Head of a Sunflower Is Made of Complete or Incomplete Flowers
Information and experiment from Janice VanCleave.
Flower Dissection Lab
With special instructions for composite flowers.
AP Biology lab sheet with wonderful diagrams.
Virtual flower dissection from the BBC.
Hike Observation Sheet: Wildflowers
Think wildflower scavenger hunt.
Daisy Color By Number
Simple activity for young students from Enchanted Learning.
Collecting and Pressing Wildflowers
Complete instructions plus diagrams from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Another option from the U.S. Forest Service.
Wildflower Bookmark Gift
Wondering what to do with your pressed flowers?
Wild Flowers Worth Knowing by Neltje Blanchan
Public domain work with color plates to help with identification.
Field and Woodland Plants by William S. Furneaux
More advanced public domain work for older children. Includes classification information, detailed diagrams, and wonderful illustrations that aid in creating a notebook.
Wildflowers (Fandex Family Field Guides)
This Fandex has received its fair share of use in our home! Handy on walks.
For an ideal wildflower identification book, we have had the best success with those devoted to the wildflowers in our state. Add your state name to this simple wildflower search at Amazon and you should end up with a large selection to choose from. Suggest avoiding state books written as part of a series.
Paper perfect for illustrating and discussing the different types of composite flower arrangements. From DonnaYoung.org.
Hike Observation Sheet: Wildflower Hunt
Form for observing one wildflower of special interest.
Dissection Lab Sheet
For recording observations when dissecting a daisy as suggested above.
44 wildflowers to color make a nice addition to notebook!
Wildflowers, Weeds, & Garden Flowers Notebooking Pages
These notebooking pages are not free, but for the cost may be a good option for those looking for something more formal. These pages track perfectly with the wildflower, weeds and garden flower sections in the Handbook of Nature Study. There are 8 notebooking pages for each flower along with blank templates for your own additions.
Color of Flowers
Wildflower color-by-number pages from the U.S. Forest Service.
Plants & Trees Nature Study Notebooking Pages
This 52-page download is not free, but it is a relatively inexpensive option for those who would like a set of pages covering trees, leaves, seeds, and flowers — all included in this book study. A great feature of this particular set are the diagrams and labeling activities included: tree anatomy; layers of the tree trunk; twig anatomy; anatomy and types of leaves; leaf arrangements, venation, margins, and shapes; cones, fruits and nuts; and parts of a flower. A perfect go-along!
Flower Shape Book
Simple notebooking page for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.
View all of the lessons in the series.