Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Outdoor Hour Challenge–Cattails August 4, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 12:16 pm

This week’s nature study is on cattails!  It just so happened that on our walk around the neighborhood one day, we discovered a little drainage ditch with some cattails in it.  So, we decided to go down one day when my husband was home with Bug….the journey down to the cattails wasn’t one that would be easy for a baby.  The grass leading up to it was pretty high and full of thorny plants, and the cattails themselves were sitting in some marshy water. 

The ditch area with the cattails

Cattails sitting in marshy water. There were lots of leaves, and about 2-3 dozen brown seed pods.


See how tall the grass is? It was pretty thorny too.

Monkey feeling the cattail. It was remarkably heavy and firm, considering that it's packed with fluff!

Another view of the marshy ditch. The cattails grow with wet roots, and so this is the perfect place for them!

Some of the cattail brown seed pods

Jedi feeling the cattail. He was very surprised by how soft and velvety the outside of it was!

The kids coming back to the street after the first part of the cattail study.

When we got back to the house, we dissected a couple of the seed pods to see what it looked like inside. Notice how densely packed the pod is! Hence why it was so firm!

The seeds are very tightly packed inside each pod...

But once you get them out, they are very fluffy and silky! Jedi guessed that eventually, the cattails release the seeds and they float away in the air because they are so light and fluffy.

A huge bird we saw in our backyard. It is insanely odd looking too. I'm guessing it's a turkey vulture, but I'm not sure. It was HUGE!


4 Responses to “Outdoor Hour Challenge–Cattails”

  1. Julie Says:

    Great study! The stand of cattails we observed was in a hard to get to ditch, too. We haven’t dissected ours yet, they are saving it for when dh gets back from his travels. Love the pics. 🙂

  2. pebblekeeper Says:

    Great study – I didn’t cut ours open, I might do this when the boys get home later. This is also our first year to observe Turkey Vultures. It has taken a while to quickly distinguish them from the Eagles – Wing color being the biggest.

  3. Isn’t it amazing all the things we have never done with the common plants and other things in our every day life. This was our first year studying cattails and we have learned so much….we had a cattail explode in the house, not pretty.

    Great study and I love your photos. Can I use one for the OHC Photo of the Week? Let me know :

    It sure looks like a turkey vulture to me. Big and ugly!
    It says that only the adults have red heads so many yours is a juvenile.

    Thanks for sharing your link.

    • allyrae Says:

      Oh my gosh, that’s not even an adult?! I think I might be scared to meet an adult turkey vulture face to face…the juvenile one was big enough! 🙂

      And yes, feel free to use any of the pictures. 🙂

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