Practicing Observations

Even though we may be spending more time at home, there are still ways to explore nature! Boston Public Library and the New England Aquarium are collaborating to bring Boston families weekly challenges to connect with nature either from a window at home, or your local park!

Science is all about noticing patterns and asking questions. Slowing down, looking closely, and writing or drawing what you notice is called observation. Writing or drawing what you observe will help you notice patterns and learn more about what you observe. We have a simple data sheet for you to either print or recreate on your own to help you practice data collection. You don’t need to travel far, or even at all, to observe nature and practice this important science skill. The outdoors is everywhere, even indoors; let’s practice!

Challenge:

Find nature in a place you never noticed before. This can be from your window, front step, parking lot, basement, attic, or a sidewalk near your home. Take a moment to pause somewhere and look closely for plants, animals, insects, or other natural elements that can sometimes be easy to ignore. Perhaps it is just looking up and observing the clouds or taking some time to sit at a window and notice some of our urban wildlife like squirrels, pigeons, turkeys, bees, gulls, dandelions, or trees.

Materials Needed:

Pencil, paper, data sheet, and patience.

plant growing through brick steps
Photo Credit: Librarian Cindy at Fields Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library
Scientists ask lots of questions, try these out this week!
  • Is it a plant, animal, or something else?
  • What color(s) is it?
  • What shape(s) do you see?
  • Where did you observe it?
  • What do you think it is?
    • – Why do you think that?
    • – Where could you find more information?
    • [HINT: Take a look at the recommended book list!]

Check out this BPL recommended book list and these podcasts to learn more!