Thursday, 29 November 2012

Pining for Pine Cones 

The Spark:
There are a lot of things going on in the plant world that take a sharp eye and careful observation to detect.  The life cycle of pines is one of them.  So, tune into your super natural super senses and take a closer look at one of these inconspicuous plant structures, the humble pine cone, now and throughout the year to try and unravel what is happening to them. 

This quest comes at the perfect time of year.  The holidays are nearly approaching and many people venture outdoors to collect fallen pine cones to decorate their homes.   Having them right under your nose may offer an opportune moment for you to take a closer look at these fascinating plant formations.

Cone Bearing Trees- Conifers

Cone bearing trees began to develop more than 300 million years ago.  That's a long time!  They haven't changed much over the years and they are one of the most successful plants in the world.  They grow in very cold or dry areas and where other plants can't survive.  Much of their success is due to their cones.  

You see, the hard scales on the outside of the cone help protect the seed inside from bad weather, poor growing conditions and cone eaters.  When the right time comes, the scales shrink, open and release the winged seeds to the wind, giving them the best chance of survival.  

Are you interested in examining how pine cones are designed to see how they work to keep the survival of the coniferous trees going?  Then your quest begins here.  Super Natural Superheroes ACTIVATE!  Your quest begins with the question WHY?

Start Your Quest:
Why:  To examine, explore, and discover why the pine cone is designed the way it is and how it's design improves it's survival rate.
What:  To set up a pine cone weather station to observe the work that pine cones do first hand.
Where:  Two weather stations: one indoors and one in your backyard where you can easily make observations.
When:  As soon as you can get yourself organized
Who:  You, your friends, and family
How:  Find out below.  It's a S.N.CH.!  Or is it??

Take Action:

 Let's Take a Look at how Pine Cones are Shaped with a Doodling Activity

Set Up Your Indoor Weather Station to Observe How Pine Cones Open and Close in Response to Moisture

Set Up Your Outdoor Weather Station to Observe Pine Cones Responding to Nature

You've decorated with them, you've examined, observed and experimented with them and now you can recycle them back to nature.

Don't Stop Here:
Keep on researching and discovering more about pine cones.  Who knows, they may turn out to be one of you great passions in life.  And don't forget to join our S.N.CH. philosopher's club.  If you have a hunch about something just drop us an email and we'll do our best to give it a whirl and get back to you.

Quest Check:
Check back with us on a regular basis to see if your interests match our quests.

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