Friday, March 11, 2011

Things That Grow- Initial Thoughts and Notes

For Day 1, I would like to try starting out with some What do I know and What do I Wonder time.  In school they called it a KWL chart (what do you know, what do you want to know, and at the end...what did you learn).  I always found KWL's to be a little strange however because most young children do not really understand the 'W' portion.  To keep the pressure off, I find it easier to ask simply what do you know and if any wonderings come up during that time, I write them down as a question to be answered later.  I will probably make a new bulletin board in my spare room for these ideas to live.  I am going to need a big piece of cork board however so if you have any around that you can spare, please let me know.  I do plan on writing the ideas down initially and then adding some simple graphics to make the ideas more accessible to the children.

The question I am putting out there for the first day (since we won't have had a previous discussion to pull from) is "What does a plant need to grow?"  For simplicity sake, I will be focusing on light, water, and soil.  We will talk about seeds briefly and spend some time looking at various seeds.

Seed sorting (size and color emphasized)
Seed guessing...what kind of plant comes from which seed.  I will have them make some guesses about which seed grows which kind of plant using the picture on the seed packet.  Do larger plants come from larger seeds?  Do smaller plants come from smaller seeds?  Does the size of the seed determine the size of the plant (sunflower seeds are great to pair up against something like zinnia seed, but I would also like to put perhaps some apple seeds out to show that the size of the seed does not always determine the size of the plant that will grow from it).

Indi does not have a lot of experience with glue and I may try to incorporate a gluing activity here depending on where things are at.

So from there, what do we do with the seed?  How do we make it gow?  Can a seed grow if we just leave it out the table for instance?  Does it need something else to help it grow?  Can we place it in a glass of water to make it grow?  Does it matter where we put it while it grows...a dark closet or near a window?  I want to jot down any ideas they have right, wrong, weird....whatever.

At this point, I would like to go outside and do an activity to get their blood moving and have some fun as well as tie in a needed skill.  Indi needs help with fine motor skills so I thought I could do a race of sorts where they have to race to a stop where they would use a spoon to spoon potting soil into a small cup, then run to another point and pick up a bean seed with padded tweezers, run a small obstacle back and place the bean seed in the soil...with help, spoon more soil over the bean, and water in.  Once they are finished, their job would be to cheer on anyone else who was still working.  At this point I do not know if this is over ambitious for this group.  I can make adjustments as needed the day of though.  There are 2 skills addressed in the standards that are practiced of them being fine motor skills and another being the ability to follow a sequence of instructions.

We would end here and play and have lunch.  After lunch they could play a bit more.

After some play time, I thought it might be nice to have some time to share other ideas with each other that we do during the week with our kids.  Right now the most fun thing we do together is the Right Start Math.  It might be nice to try to do part of a lesson with the kids so that you could see if it is something that interests you and to see if your kids are receptive to it.

The last thing we would do on this day is talk briefly about the bean seeds we planted.  We could do an experiment to see what happens if we put one of the plants in a sunny window and another in the dark.  Keeping everything else constant as far as keeping the soil moist with plants need light?  It would be nice to have them document their seeds on a daily basis to share with the group the next time we meet.  This can be done with photos or drawings or notes dictated to you by the kids.

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