Sunday, September 4, 2011

Update: Natural Things Swap

I'm getting together a nice group of people participating in the Natural Things Swap, but would love to include more.  It's truly an activity that will be enriched with every addition to the group. 


I know there are some of you debating participating, but feeling like you don't have anything unique to contribute... I just wanted to share a quick story and let you know that the things you walk by every day and take for granted are great objects to swap.

When I was deciding what I should contribute to the swap, I initially considered including maple leaves or helicopters (maple seeds) because they are simple enough for me to collect - I just have to walk a few feet outside my door.  But, I sort of rejected that idea because living in the upstate New York/Vermont region, maple trees hardly seem like anything unique or worthy of swapping.  They line my street and just about everywhere else around here. 

Ironically, one of the people participating in the swap commented to me that she really hoped she'd get some "big leaves" from the northern part of the country as part of the swap.  She lives in southern Texas, and her students have no idea how large leaves grow to be.  Needless to say, I'll be including some maple leaves in my swap packages after all (unless, of course, someone else would like to include them, in which case I'll use something else).

At the end of the day, those common objects (the ones you've already crossed off your list of possibilities) are probably some of the best to include.


If you're looking for lessons in which to include your newly acquired natural artifacts, Sheri's Specimen Collection and Classification activity may be a good place to begin.  It's focused on the animal kingdom, but you could use it as a jumping-off point to create a similar activity to include the plant-based objects.


Also, I wanted to quickly mention that while this blog is largely written for educators (formal and informal), you don't need to be a teacher to participate.  My 5 year old son is having a ball talking and thinking about what objects we should include in the swap and is nearly bursting to find out what other people will be sending  us.  I think it will be a fabulous experience for him, as well as a chance for me to build up my collection of objects for teacher workshops and my someday-return to a classroom.


So, consider joining in the fun.  Click here for the details of what's involved and then send a message my way to get your name on the list!  And, if you're still unsure or have questions, send them my way

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