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Go on a Teeny-Tiny Safari

A little spot of nature can go a long way.

Have you ever looked deep into the center of a dandelion or watched it change over time from a flower to a seed head? By observing the little things in nature, you can make your own discoveries.

When I was eight years old, my mom showed me how to do an activity called “Square Check.” I chose a patch of ground by our chokecherry tree and marked off a square 3 feet long by 3 feet wide. I began to study the living things inside it and described them in a journal.

I looked at the spot monthly during the school year. I enjoyed checking my square and seeing it change.

So that is a Square Check!

What You’ll Need
  • yardstick or 12-inch ruler
  • 4 craft sticks
  • magnifying glass
  • journal or notebook
  • pencil
  • outdoor thermometer
What to Do
  1. Find an interesting piece of ground, home to two or more kinds of plants. Measure a 3-foot-by-3-foot square and push a craft stick into the ground to mark each corner.
  2. Use the magnifying glass to look at the plants, insects, and other natural things inside the square.
  3. In your journal, write the date, the temperature, and a note about the weather.
  4. Use words and drawings to make a record of any interesting things you find in the square. You might draw a map of the square to mark where you spotted each object of interest.
  5. Observe the spot and write an entry in your journal at least once a month. Write your thoughts about the changes you have seen.
  6. Try a different spot!

By:

Art by: Martin Fagan

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