The Wonderland of Nature by Nuri Mass.
An Australian living science book for children.
‘Books dealing with Science…should be of a literary character, and we would probably be more scientific as a people if we scrapped all the text books. Where science does not teach a child to wonder and admire, it is perhaps of no educational value. ’ Charlotte Mason
The Wonderland of Nature covers topics in all the required science fields of the Australian syllabus for Year k to 3:
- Living World: life cycles, insects, small animals and plants.
- Earth Science: weather, seasons, the water cycle and rocks
- Physical World: light, heat, sound, electricity, and magnetism
- Chemical World: gold, silver, bauxite, copper, tin and uranium.
Each chapter is a short case study of Australian nature and the natural world.
“This is just perfect for our little Australian nature lovers….and I think that you have just enriched our nature studies by 100%. Every detail that you have included … has been beautifully, and thoughtfully put together, and you have provided my family with a real treasure.” Karen Pearce 2007
“Nuri’s Affection And Appreciation Of Nature Is Infectious.”
Nuri Mass, the author, lets us into her world. We join in with her discoveries and share in the wonder with her young children, Chris and Tess, as they explore the great outdoors with their mother. They collect plants, animals and rocks and go on nature walks to discover new things.
Her simple explanations and detailed observation will make you and your children marvel and prompt you all to go outside on a quest to find that common creature, that rock, that plant that has now inspired so much curiosity.
Nuri makes scientific illustrations into an art form. More than 200 simple sketches appear in this book. Children can use these drawings as a model for their own nature sketches or colour-in the book
This book is of no particular religious persuasion.
The Wonderland of Nature was not written by creation scientists. It is a secular science book that was written by a woman who was passionate about nature and the wonder of it. Nuri Mass believed in the theory of evolution and there are scant references made to this throughout the book. It is very easy to leave out the evolutionary references as they are only a sentence here and there. It will not affect the delightful reading of this book. The only chapter that discusses evolution at length is the last chapter when it refers to fossils – or pictures in stone.
Suggested Weekly Schedule
When using this book as part of The Wonderland of Nature Set you can meet many of the requirements for the Australian National Curriculum Foundation to Year 3 requirements.
Science study is only expected to take up 6 to 10% of the Australian primary school syllabus. There are 68 short chapters in this book. To do this book in one year you would need to do two chapters per week. Not all chapters have discover pages so this is quite easy to do. If you want to move at a slower pace one chapter per week would take 2 years.
- Read aloud one chapter of the book once a week. This only takes about 15 minutes.
- Have the child narrate (tell back) what they learned from reading. Discuss the questions on the relevant Discovery Page.
- If appropriate the children can go outside to see if they can find the mentioned treasure.
- Use the Discovery Page for your journal entry.
- Plan weekly or monthly nature walks for individual discovery and maybe some extra nature journaling.
Charlotte Mason Favourite
The books engaging narrative style is why it is a favourite living science book amongst Australian Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. In fact it is considered an Australian nature classic winning the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Highly Commended Award.
The Wonderland of Nature is also part of the Wonderland of Nature Set.
The set includes THe Wonderland of Nature Journal
Wonderland of Nature Journal ebook
Teaching children to observe nature through journaling.
The Wonderland of Nature Journal is a downloadable companion to the The Wonderland of Nature book.
It will help your children develop the habit of observing the environment, recording and interpreting what they see and feel.
Your children are encouraged to make their own nature journal while reading through The Wonderland of Nature.
There are 32 Discovery Pages for your child. Each corresponds to various chapters in the book. All the Discovery Page allows your child to add their own observations. For the most part there are no right and wrong answers, as these are not revision worksheets, but rather aids to exploration and consolidation of the material covered in The Wonderland of Nature.
You can print off as many copies as you want for your own children and do this as a family group activity.
The Discovery Nature Journal Pages include:
• Discussion question for narration related to the chapter.
• A place for your child to record their own observations of nature for that day.
• Space for labelling an illustration, finishing of a picture, or making their own nature drawing.
• Lines for relevant notes.
• Web links to child friendly websites for more information.
Once your child has begun their nature journal they need not be limited to the Discovery Pages. They can make their own special entries of events from their own experience such as the possum they saw or a bird that visits your home.