Here we have just experienced a self directed, independent time of discovery. Curiosity will lead to questions only answered through research. Independent discovery gives a child the freedom to look and question on his own and seeking the answers to his questions. It may be the curious design of a leaf, the longing to know the name of his favorite tree, or a desire to understand the break down of organic matter to nourish the soil. Either way, a self directed discovery is perfect for children with a natural curiosity needing the freedom to roam and to guild his own course of knowledge.
Here is one example of directed discovery. The adult could also have assigned an element from nature to be found by each child or the group collectively. My children and students generally enjoyed the freedom to search a new discovery, but did well with assigned finds. On occasion we searched for things they had read or encountered I study. Nature journals and disposable cameras offer creative documentation and a record of their finds. Not every child enjoys journaling; our farm by loved discovery and learning, but never found pleasure in journaling it.
Discover in the garden can be the basic home garden, an arboretum, or a natural park. The effort, time put into the activity can be as detailed or relaxed as suits your family. For me, discovery was something I enjoyed as well- giving us opportunity to learn together, in turn, leading by example. If nature and garden time is new to your family or students then relax and let it flow- resistance may come at first, but in time they will warm and settle in.
Let's put on our comfortable shoes, grab some water and spend some time with the living things.