Friday, April 15, 2011

The Dandelion

The first warmth of spring brought the dandelions out of the banks and knolls. They were the first proofs that winter was really going, and we began to listen for the blackbirds and swallows. We loved the bright flowers, for they were so many reflections of the warming sun. They soon became more familiar, and invaded the yards. Then they overran the lawns, and we began to despise them. We hated them because we had made up our minds not to have them, not because they were unlovable. In spite of every effort, we could not get rid of them. Then if we must have them, we decided to love them. Where once were weeds are now golden coins scattered in the sun, and bees revelling in color; and we are happy! - L. H. Bailey.

Suggestions For Study
I. Ask your teacher to let you go out of doors for ten minutes to look at dandelions. In your note books write answers to the following questions:
1. At what time of day are you looking for the dandelions? Is the sun shining, or is the sky overcast? Make up your mind to notice whether dandelions behave the same at all hours of the day and in all kinds of weather.
2. How many dandelions can you count as you stand on the school-ground? The little yellow heads can be seen a long distance.
3. Where do they prefer to grow, — on the hillsides, along the roadsides, in the marshes, or in your garden?

II. Gather a basket full of blossoming dandelions, roots and all, take them to school, and ask the teacher to let you have a dandelion lesson. Here are some suggestions that will help you:

1. Each pupil should have a plant, root and all. Describe the plant. Is it tall or short? How many leaves are there? How many blossoms?
2. Hold the plant up so that you can see it well. How many distinct colors do you find? How many tints and shades of these colors?
3. Look carefully at the blossom. How many parts has it? How much can you find out about the way in which the yellow head is made up?
III. Mark a dandelion plant in your garden. Watch it every day. Keep a record of all that happens in its life.

Taken from, Cornell Nature-Study Leaflets

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