A fun way to incorporate the scientific method into our nature journals is by setting up a research project. This idea is taken from Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth’s Keeping a Nature Journal.
If you ever find yourself particularly interested in a specific plant, animal or phenomenon while outside (or inside) journaling, use it as an opportunity to do a little bit of research! Nature journal research projects can be about anything and they are yet another way to help us focus our thoughts and learn more about the natural world around us!
Something you’ll want to do before pursuing your project is to research the plant or animal you are investigating by trying to get as much information on it as possible. For this, you can utilize your local library, books you have in your home and/or the internet! If you want, you can create a page (or more!) of background information in your journal with all of the new things that you learn about your research subject! As you gain more information on the plant/animal you are looking into, you can compare what you learn through independent study of books/website and what you observe when in the field. Do your observations align with what you are learning? Do you notice anything unique that you didn’t read about? Does anything surprise you about your plant/animal?
A huge part of science and ecological studies is observing how plants and animals behave in their natural environments over time. Committing to sketching, recording, researching and making connections of one aspect of the natural world through a mini-research project will help to enhance so many skills that are utilized in our nature journals and it can be a TON of fun! You'll probably see a lot of things that you hadn't noticed before and perhaps you'll even make a discovery!
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