Monday, March 17, 2008

Green Hour Challenge #5: The List & Puffballs

This week is challenge #5 over at Barb's The Heart of Harmony. Last week, we decided our focus for the next 6 to 8 weeks would be plants without leaves - primarily lichens, fungi, and mosses. Well, in Handbook of Nature Study (HONS), the section covering these plants is called "flowerless plants."

The first part of our assignment was to make a list of things found in the book that we think we'll be able to find and study. I think we will study:

  • the hair-cap moss
  • mushrooms
  • puffballs
  • bracket fungi
  • morels (possibly)
  • mold

Part 2 was to go on our nature walk. Since I'd already decided we were studying puffballs today and we knew two areas in our yard that had some, we just went straight to the puffballs.

Next, we were to discuss our finds. So, we used the questions listed in HONS on page 721. This was the first time I'd used the questions in the book, and I found them really interesting.

From the questions, we learned that puffballs can be up to 4 foot in diameter! And, that some type of puffballs are sliced and fried.

We also learned that if you give a puffball a light squeeze, "smoke" spurts out. This is actually the spores and they are normally released from a little hole on their top. Alexandra enjoyed making the spores come out over and over again. (see video)

The puffballs we have in our backyard are a special type called earthstars. We opened up some of the earthstars to see what was inside. As Alexandra described it, it looked like "coffee grounds."

We also drew pictures of the earthstars in our nature journals and Alexandra added some spores (covered by tape) to her journal.

CORRECTION!!! On the first draft of this post, I showed some photos of some greenish mushrooms and thought they were puffballs. But, I just realized we never got them to "puff!" So, I don't believe they are puffballs and I deleted them from this post.


Sea Star said...

I know my little girl would love to study all those non flowering plants. The puffballs sound so great. I am going to have to pay more attention to what we have around us so we can explore those plants after the garden plants.

Wendy B. said...

Way cool! My kids loved watching the video and want to search for puffballs of their own.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Fantastic entry on such an interesting and unusual topic. I really enjoyed seeing all of your photos, especially the ones of the puffballs...I don't think we have ever seen those here. I looked in our field guide to see if there are any listed and there were not. Sigh. I will have to enjoy them through your blog. Isn't that the great part of the internet? I just was reading an entry from challenge one that is from Brazil! Can you believe how big these challenges are getting? I am humbled.

Anyway, thanks for the link.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Teacher of One said...

That video is sooo neat. I can't wait until we can be outside without coats! We can't seem to break 40.

live4evermom said...

Ok now as soon as my new lens comes in today I am going outside and looking around for these. I'm sure I'll find some sort of mushroom out there with all the rain we have had.

I love the video clip.

Rhonda said... neat. I took the girls outside just to see if we could find some and to our disappointment there were none in our backyard.Thanks for sharing the photos and the video.

~Java Mama~ said...

How interesting! I have never heard of puffballs! I can't wait to learn a little more about these non-flowering plants through your nature study.

JOYfully in Him,

Sherri said...

Lots of fun digging around outside in beautiful weather. I love all of the always!!!

Makita said...

How exciting! I remember finding puff ball mushrooms in our yard growing up - so fun to poof! :)

Proverbs 31 wanna-be said...

Oh, how fun! I remember those puffballs from my childhood. They bring back good memories and I didn't know anything about them. Thanks for sharing.

Melissal89 said...

Oh, how cool! I love the video clip, what a great visual way to share about them. All of your information is very interesting, makes me want to study flowerless plants this summer. I don't think we have those puffballs in our area though because I don't remember anything about them.

Blessings, Melissa
In the Sparrow's Nest

Tina said...

That video was AWESOME!

What a fun study you all are doing. What a unique topic.


mamasmurf said...

That video is just great! I've never seen puffballs at all, so I don't know whether we have them here in England.

I really enjoyed your post!


keri said...

Puff balls...we had those,
my kids were crazy about them!

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