Thursday, June 18, 2015

Field Journal Workshop

Earlier this week, I taught a Field Journal workshop for kids at the Boise Watershed.  This is an education facility out by the water treatment plant.

In the summer, the have free classes for kids that combine science with art.  Last year, I taught a Fibonacci & Fabric workshop.  This year I had the kids make field journals.

I found this tutorial online for how to make a simple book without adhesive.  In the tutorial, they used wall paper samples for their cover.  I did not want to use wall paper samples because I wanted the kids to be able to write on the cover.  So I came up with the idea to use manilla file folders.  I cut off all the tabs on the folders.  This worked well for the cover as the folder was stiff enough and already had one nice fold in the center.

We could also stitch together the book without having to use a needle, which was another bonus, as the ages range.  Even though I requested the ages be 8 -12 for one session and 12 and up for the other, the first session had names listed with ages 6, 7 and even 5.  (I'm not sure why they bother putting an age limit if they don't follow it. But I know some people ask if brothers or sisters can come, too, and they probably just say yes.)

The classes are two and a half hours.  My plan was to talk about what a field journal is and why scientists use them, have the kids make their journal, talk about what kinds of information/drawings go into a field journal and different ways to observe their surroundings and then take the kids outside to use their field journal.  We would come back inside and have the small snack that is provided, discuss some ways to draw nature and then do some more drawing inside from nature objects and taxidermy animals.

The morning session was the younger group and there were 22 kids (even though there is supposedly a 20 person limit.  I'm glad I bought extra watercolor pencil sets.).  It took a lot longer than I thought for them to get the actual book made.  So I didn't get around to giving them hints about drawing, but I don't think that mattered too much.

The afternoon class was the older group and much smaller with only about 10 kids.  They had no trouble getting the journal together and they had lots more time to draw and I could discuss the information more in depth and give them the drawing hints.

It all went well and I was exhausted by the end of the day.

This last picture is someone's drawing of a sage grouse.  We did not see one outside, the class coordinator had borrowed a taxidermy one to draw inside.

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