Monday, March 7, 2011
Sugar Bush Tour and Maple Syrup Merriment
To further our studies of Where Things Come From this year, a field trip to the Sugar Bush at Blandford Nature Center was perfect for us this month. The tour was amazing, and extremely educational. We learned not only the process in which the tree makes it's sap and how we tap and produce maple syrup, but also the history of how maple syrup was made by Native Americans and by Pioneers. The kids got to take turns drilling a hole to tap a tree, taste maple sugar and maple syrup and see hands-on demonstrations of the process from both historical and modern perspectives.
To prepare and follow-up, I used the adorable story of At Grandpa's Sugar Bush, by Margaret Carney. This beautiful book tells the enchanting tale of tradition and sugaring through the eyes of a young boy helping his Grandpa make maple syrup from their sugar bush forest. It subtly includes other signs of nature and wildlife as the story unfolds and is truly a delight. Here is an educational resource for it: Education World link.
We also used plenty of the wonderful, wonderful free resources from the Homeschool Share website, the time and energy this site saves me is immeasurable and incredible: Maple Syrup Unit Study.
Here's a fun recipe we used (with the fresh syrup we bought at the nature center):
Maple Syrup Milk Shakes
1 pt. vanilla ice cream, softened
1 qt. cold milk
1/2 c. maple syrup
Put ingredients in blender/mixer and serve cold.
You can find more recipes and maple syrup activities at Grandmother Wren.