After school science for kids… the Bunya Pine Cone

I love that my kids go to school. I love the time it gives me to work on this little blog (in a quiet house), I love that their teachers can reach them in ways I can’t, I love that they love it so much. But I’ll admit a part of me misses being their only teacher. Planning activities and guiding their days was so much fun for me. M and M attend a school that gives me one home school day, HOORAY for that! And of course we still have after school. 😉

A couple of weeks ago we went to a party. (A very, very yummy party.) While we were there we sat under the most unusual tree. My uncle (the host) told us that they had to decone the tree before the party because the cones are so heavy. They used the giant cones as a table center piece. The kids were sort of interested… I was VERY interested. (Can you see where this is going?)

I did what any lesson plan mom would do… I asked to take a cone home for research. Wouldn’t you do the same?

science for kids

The cone we brought home was huge and easily identified. The Bunya Tree produces these massive cones and comes with a strong warning to use caution when standing below it. I wish I had a picture of the tree. It’s absolutely beautiful. Reminds me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

science for kids

While the kids were at school I set up a research station. (You’ll notice 4 kids instead of 2… my nieces were at the party and desperately wanted to dissect the cone too.) Each station included a towel, a homemade journal, and a pencil. They shared the measuring tape and magnifying glasses.

Science for kidsWith everyone seated and ready to explore I asked them to record their observations of the Bunya Pine as it stood. Writing or drawing are both perfect ways to keep track of your findings.

science for kidsThey touched it, looked at it and even smelled it. Then I let them loose. They pulled it apart and examined every bit.

science for kids

An experience like this gives kids a great opportunity to practice so many important skills.

1. Organizing. They each had their own space. Getting used to maintaining a work area will come in handy in school.
2. S learned how to use a measuring tape.
3. T practiced writing.
4. I figured out the weight of this Bunya Cone and everyone took turns holding it. Now they know exactly what 8 lbs feels like.

science for kids

The Bunya Pine Cone is full of textures and beautiful colors.

1. From the bottom you can see the seed pods. They pulled off the core very easily.
2. The branch we brought home was very dried out and brittle.
3. Moist and sponge, the core was just as fun to explore as everything else.
4. Guess what we found out?!? The seeds contain an edible nut. We all gave it a try. The flavor was good, but raw these seeds were a little too moist. The rest of the seeds are awaiting a turn on the bar-b-que. I  have a feeling they will be much better roasted.

Now it’s your turn. What after school science for kids do you have planned? 


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