We are currently dog sitting our friend’s little pooch, so we decided to delay our Roald Dahl dedication and instead do tomorrow’s Science class today. As the title suggests, the dog and the girl and I wandered (down local back lanes with the pooch) to explore what kind of plants were growing there. We took along a bucket and a 40 cm ruler to ensure we collected some samples long enough to weave on our recently opshopped loom.
Following the weaving – which was a great way for us to compare samples – LM developed a list of ten ways that plants can differ from each other. LM also used the woven plants as a guide to develop a list of the various parts of a plant and how those different elements serve the plants survival. From there we discussed ways that plants are used/needed by humans and why we really should plant some more in our own yard. We also realised just how many objects in our home are made from plants.
LM was eager to continue the discussion, so we had a quick snack break (LM made her first batch of biscuits) as I looked for some teaching materials online. I settled on a Teacher’s Guide from the Center for Informal Science Education at the Florida Museum of Natural History available here http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/teaching/eecd/domains%20of%20child%20development/science/plant-life.pdf it includes a great list of experiences, including a few that we will start this afternoon:
Experience 4: Where Do Seeds Come From? [assortment of fruits (pre-cut), plastic wrap, plates, magnifying tools]
Experience 5: From Seed to Plant [bean seeds, moist paper towels, clear plastic cups or sealable bags, spray bottle with water, magnifying tools, camera, sunflower life cycle puzzle]
Experience 6: Planting Seeds [variety of quick sprouting seeds such as grass, bean, and radish seeds, plastic cups, potting soil, spray bottle with water, magnifying tools, camera]
Experience 10: Plants Grow Toward Light [plant growing toward the sun, 1 or more plants growing upright window or other light source]
Experience 16: Other Things We Get from Plants [assortment of items made from plants such, as rubber eraser, cotton fabric, baskets, plant-based soap, cork, rope, wooden toys, furniture]
From this gorgeous and accessible resource LM also selected her plant-inspired spelling words for the day: nature, exploration, photosynthesis, experiment, flower power, pollen, leaves and carbon dioxide.
This evening we’ll mash up some ‘super-juice’ fertiliser from the leftovers of our lunch: egg shells and banana skin and coffee. We’ll use it to try and save the indoor plants I recently bought, as well as for another experiment where we are going to plant seeds in different soils and mixes to compare their growth. I’ll get LM to develop a hypothesis (first explaining what a hypothesis is) regarding which seeds will be the most successful, we’ll list influential variables and we’ll record their growth using photos and height measurement charts. I’ll confess to being a truly terrible gardener, so this lesson is probably more necessary for me than LM.
The school day will end with LM making leaf printed clay bowls with her friends PL, BL and RL – the three cutest sisters in town.