environmentAt 8:30 this morning, we were in the treehouse, sketching the the expanse of forest in front of us, sunlight streaming through the trees. We scribbled into our notebooks the sounds we were hearing: insects, birds, the contented clucking of the chickens. I added to my list something I was feeling: mosquitoes. When we couldn’t take it anymore, we came inside to talk about the term environment.

We also did a Mystery Science lesson today on friction. We quickly made our own “slide” and did a series of experiments to test which household objects had low friction and which had high friction. We learned about the Insano, a water slide in Brazil that is a 14-story near vertical drop, and we brainstormed ways to lower the friction on our own neighbourhood slides.

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When we finished our own lessons, I turned my attention to a class I’m teaching at the Nook on Thursday. Last week, the kids listened to a story about a chickweed fairy, and this week, I want to do some activities with them using chickweed to make the plant and its uses more concrete. To do this, I need chickweed. Although it’s a plant whose growing season spans most of the year, and although it’s a fast-growing¬†weed that people are often trying to get rid of, it seems to be in short supply around here.

After dropping off Zahra at her piano lesson, Noah and I poked around the piano teacher’s yard, alternately looking for chickweed and throwing a ball to the dog. I thought I may have found it, but it wasn’t the right plant, and so we headed to a local park to check some more. Still no luck. Meanwhile, my enquiring post in a Facebook gardening group had one person telling me she had just thrown a bunch away and directing me to a nursery. But my friend Mayali also commented and thinks she has a bunch growing in her yard. So the quest continues!

Leila got off the bus at 2:30 and after a quick snack, we jumped on our bikes for a ride down Blvd Perrot, checking along the road and in grassy fields for the surprisingly elusive chickweed. No luck. By the time we got back, the neighbour kids were home from school and the kids played together outside until dinner.

When the sun set just after 7:00, the kids and I threw blankets around our shoulders (damn mosquitoes!) and headed back to the treehouse, Science project notebooks in hand, and sketched the same view, about eleven hours later.