So far in our one hour class time the kids have only had a chance to do the basic four steps. In another week or two we plan on having them look back at their work and do some creative writing and/or drawing with their analogies.
Getting down the four-step process in this program is taking a bit of time and practice, especially for the moms trying to guide their kids. Everyone understands examining the specimen and drawing the picture, yet I've noticed that even though the kids are looking through the loupes to examine their object, they draw them unmagnified. I remind them to look-draw-look-draw and draw circles on their papers to represent the loupe but still they are not in the habit of drawing a magnified picture. I am going to try to cover the specimen somehow so the only way they can look at it when drawing is to look through the loupe, similar to drawing from a microscope.
Making analogies is a skill that requires a bit of work for most. My first "rule" is that they cannot make an analogy to another related item, so if they are looking at a plant, no plant analogies; if they are looking at a rock, no rock analogies. While they are valid analogies, my kids were stuck on them and couldn't come up with anything else. Once I made the rule they began to think in novel ways.
If they are having a really hard time getting started, I ask them to write a list of adjectives to describe the object. Next I'll pick two or three and ask, "What else is oval, brown, and hard?" What else has something long and thin attached to it?
Usually they want to get started drawing before they think about the analogies. While I see nothing wrong with doing that, many of the kids get a sense they are "done" when they finish drawing and spend less time on the analogies and hypotheses. Until they are comfortable doing the whole process, I save the drawing until the end.
The greatest appeal, especially for the boys and the younger kids, is just being outside and playing rather than doing a structured nature study. I'm still wondering how to overcome that allure!