October 31, 2021

Quick Collections!

 Welcome this month's guest blogger, Heather L. Montgomery*!

Round rocks, red leaves, rhinoceros beetles—we all know that kid who would cram them in a pocket then clutter up the closet. . . That kid might be a scientist. George Washington Carver, Jane Goodall, Charles Darwin—all were incessant collectors as kids! 

My recent picture book, What’s In Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures, features nine historic and modern scientists who grew their skills by packing their pockets, then sifting and sorting through nature stuff. Collecting artifacts develops skills—observation, description, sorting, evaluation—with broad application. 

Kids can build permanent collections, seeking out just the right thing to fit a category and taking care to find the perfect specimen, but there’s lots of fun to be had in quick collections, too.  On your next outing, why not put your pocket-packing skills to the test? 

Alphabet Mess: Quickly collect 30 or more random items into a pile. Then turn the mess into a tidy alphabetical line. Can you make a complete alphabet?

Categories: Call out a category (nut, something orange, something ancient, once living thing, something fuzzy, something smelly, etc.) and see what everyone finds. Bring the artifacts together to compare/contrast. For easy display of small items, use a white ice cube tray. In addition to the stated category, what else do those items have in common?

Picture Perfect: Develop a list of sensitive items (butterfly, bird, living flower, moss on a rock) and collect pictures instead of samples. Not enough cameras? Work in pairs. One person (the photographer) must line up the blindfolded person (the camera) so that when the camera flips open the shutter (blindfold) the item is directly in view.

Collection Connections (left): Make a grid on a piece of paper (adjust size according to your needs). Place one artifact in the center square. Any collected item can be added to an adjacent square if you can name one way in which the items connect. For example, they could both be animal parts, one (a plant) could use another (soil), they could both provide shelter, they could be the same color, texture, shape,… For an extra challenge, add an item and let others guess the connection.

*Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. An award-winning author and educator, Heather uses yuck appeal to engage young minds. Her books include: Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill, Bugs Don’t Hug: Six-legged Parents and Their Kids, and What’s in Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures. Learn more at www.HeatherLMontgomery.com

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