Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Basic Steps

At the heart of A Private Eye Nature is a 3 step process: Observe, Compare, Consider, and they lead to the fourth step, Create.  This endless cycle is used as a starting point for scientific investigations and creative endeavors.  This is the simple yet inspiring means by which our learning and creativity are based.

3 Steps of A Private Eye Nature

Step 1: Observe  Pick a specimen and use the loupe to examine a part of it.  Focus in on the small details not readily seen without magnification.  Draw what you see.

Step 2:  Compare  Compare and contrast what you are looking at to other parts of the same specimen, or to the same part of other specimens.  Next, think beyond what is before you by creating analogies.  It's easiest, though not necessary, to start by listing adjectives describing color, texture, shape, and such.  Pick two or more of those adjectives and consider what else is green and rough, for example, or red and long and thin.  Ultimately list 5 to 10 analogies of which your specimen reminds you.

Step 3:  Consider  Hypothesize about the function based on form and comparison.  Does it have a similar function to an unrelated object with a similar form?

These are the core three steps in the nature study process for A Private Eye Nature.

Step 4: Create  In completing these three steps you have the raw material for leaps into investigative studies, creative writing, and expressive art.

One can go in many directions with this process.  Learn how leaves are classified, or the difference between a simple and compound flower.  Think how easily a haiku poem can be created with analogies, or how they can improve nature journal writing.  Contemplate how they can be used as a creative writing or artwork prompt.

We use this process as part of our larger nature study, to encourage and expand it, not replace it.  The Private Eye cycle bridges a gap between nature study and science as well as enhances our nature writing and drawing.  I hope to post lots of our creative and scientific endeavors of A Private Eye Nature!