Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms here in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.
Today's feature: Meadowlark's Sunflower and Soil Explorations
The Magic of Plants
In order to prepare for planting in the garden, we started by talking about the magic of plants. We read stories about gardening ("The Good Brown Earth"), learned a gardening song (Inch by Inch), looked closely at seeds, and spent time talking about how magical it is that a tiny sunflower seed can transform into such a large and beautiful plant. Where do plants come from? What do plants need to grow? What makes a seed "magical”?
Planting and Watering Sunflowers
After talking about the magic of plants, the Meadowlarks actually got to plant our seeds in the garden. Each child planted at least one seed by poking a hole in the grown, placing the seed inside, and then patting down the earth to cover it. We continued to talk about what a plant needs to grow, revisited vocabulary (sprout, bud, fertile ground), and have been deciding as a class each day whether or not the seeds need to be watered. Should we water the seeds if it is raining today? How often should we check on the soil to see if it needs water?
Our Sunflower Investigation
The Meadowlarks have had A LOT of questions associated with some of the phrases in our garden song (Inch by Inch). In particular, they have been asking a lot of questions about fertile ground and seeds. What makes up fertile ground? Where do you find fertile ground? Can a seed grow in the forest without any help? How long will it take our sunflower seeds to grow roots? We decided to pursue the questions about our sunflower seeds in more detail by making observations in the garden. The package says we should see a sprout in 10-15 days so we are checking our seeds daily, writing down our observations, whether or not we watered them, etc.
With all the questions the Meadowlarks had been asking, we wanted to search for a better understanding of fertile ground. We set out a series of soil samples at the Science Table. One sample is basic topsoil (which we have labeled as DIRT), the other is potting soil (which we have labeled as FERTILE GROUND), and the last is duff from under the trees at Teacher Jocelyn’s house (which we have labeled as ORGANIC MATERIAL). Each soil sample is in a container that the Meadowlarks can reach into and touch with their hands. We have been asking them to pay close attention to the differences between the materials. What makes plain dirt different than the fertile ground you would use to grow vegetables? Does the dirt or the fertile ground appear to have more organic material? By presenting them with this hands on exploration, we are hoping to help them answer their own questions about fertile ground.
- Identify basic needs of living things and describe relationship with their habitat
- Describe the change of seasons
- Builds positive emotional connections to the natural world
- Demonstrate an interest in books, reading, and using writing for a purpose
- Explores the features of things, using all senses
- Engage with plants and animals in respectful way
- Identify weather, notice changes in weather, and discuss their impacts
- Actively participates in school-based stewardship
- Participates in simple teacher-initiated investigations to test observations, collect data, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations
- Formulate answers to own questions using the scientific method