# Learning Outside

The beautiful weather had us doing even more of our learning outside this week. We went on a field trip, hiked to the waterfall, found all sorts of interesting life in our stream, and practiced rote counting as we played "Ghost in the Graveyard."

**1743 Palatine House Field Trip**

Sue and Brian welcomed us to the Palatine House on Monday. "Oh! It's prettier than I thought it would be! It really doesn't look that old." We had done the math to figure out that the house was 274 years old. The children eagerly crossed the bridge into this pocket of the past. They had the chance to try their hands at weaving, rolling hoops, solving riddles, and figuring out the purposes of all the old tools in the house. They made some interesting connections with our colonial New York study from the winter - asking about the work children did and their education. Ask your child about courting candles, bed keys, jamless fireplaces, and how flax turns into thread. Maybe they will even have a riddle or tongue twister to share with you.

**Macroinvertebrates (and More!) in the Creek**

Nancy's last day for this school year was on Thursday. We gave her a book of all the stories the children created under her tutelage this year and thanked her for all that she has shared with us.

We went down to the stream with one big kick net and lots of little nets. The children eagerly turned over stones and searched through the water for signs of life. We found all sorts of interesting critters and examined them closely. How many tails does this one have? How are its legs shaped? Is there anything special along its body? We carefully scooped them into magnifying boxes to take a closer look and examined identification cards and the books Nancy had brought along. The children watched how they interacted with each other and were eager to release them back into their stream habitat.

**Hiking to the Waterfall**

When our class heads on a hiking adventure, they are always on the lookout for interesting finds. "Ooo, come look at this mushroom." "Hey that one doesn't have any gills on it!" "What does it look like on the bottom?" "It has lots of little holes." "This one looks like it has toothpicks!" We get to talk about gills, pores, and teeth as ways that mushrooms reproduce and send their spores out into the world. There were conversations about acorns and whether the ones that still had their bottoms were maybe rotten because how else did they get this far into spring without being eaten. Of course they had to use a rock to break one open, and it was sort of black and smushy. "Eww!"

Much as I love their discoveries, I also relish the chance just to relax into conversations as we are walking along. On the way back from the waterfall, a few children were discussing how they would like to live there. "What would that be like?" We wonder together and imagine together.