Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Learning about Plants

Spring time is in full swing, with flowers blooming, trees budding, and insects humming - so it's a great time to learn about plants!
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

Ms. Debbie found an activity online that looked very promising,so I tried it at home over the weekend, to see if it would work for our preschoolers.

The website suggested submerging leaves in water, then waiting to see the bubbles of oxygen that the leaves produce.  What a cool idea!  I tried it out with 7 different leaves that I had on hand in the garden, to see which one(s) would best demonstrate the phenomena.  
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

I found that the herb leaves were too small to show it well, but large flat leaves were great!  After one hour I could see some bubbles, and after 2 hours there were a lot.
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!
Debbie and I decided to set the demonstration up early in the morning before story time, so that by the time we were ready for hands on activities, there would be something to see.

I carefully set everything up, in 3 separate bowls, so lots of kiddos could see at the same time.
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!
Unfortunately, with our tables being jostled by 90+ people in the room, any bubbles that formed soon were knocked free.  This would make a great activity to do at home, or with a small group, but didn't go as planned for our kiddos.  If you work with children though, you know this isn't the end of the story.  I'll come back to it shortly!

At the other end of one of the table I set up another awesome plant experience for our children.  There were large bean seeds that had been soaking for 2 days (I recommend 3 or even 4 days if you can), plus pea pods, seed diagrams, and magnifying glasses.  
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

The children were encouraged to carefully open the pea pods, and to pull apart the beans and peas to discover their various parts.  The seed coats on the beans came off fairly easily, and splitting the seeds revealed the embryonic plants waiting inside.  They kiddos were fascinated!
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

So how did that interact with the oxygen experiment going on further down the table?  Soup, of course!  If you have peas and beans and leaves and rocks and water, of course the children are going to create "soup"!  I didn't witness the process, but was delighted to find the result - because it is so very typical of this age group, and a resourceful young child found a way to turn my "dud" of an experiment into a developmentally appropriate experience.  The children are always teaching me new things!
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

The library has some amazing resources - available for check out! - including kits full of thematic learning ideas.  We pulled out all kinds of science materials to explore, including natural items....
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!
...jigsaw puzzles...
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!
 ... plant parts cards and leaf and seed samples to match to them...
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!
 ... and plant parts rubber stamps, so the children would think about the various parts of plants (which we talked about during story time) as they "built" their own.
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!
The rubber stamps were a huge hit, and a lot of our friends went home with green thumbs... and green fingers too!
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

Finally, to take advantage of the lovely spring weather, we had some seriously hands on activities outside!  There were soil and tiny cups for the children to plant a real bean seed to take home and water, and there was dirt to PLAY in!  
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!
Dirt, plastic pots, trowels and some trimmed pieces of plants made for a delightful pretend!  While our young gardeners will have to wait at least a week to see their bean seeds sprout, this sensory bin satisfied their need for instant gratification, with a generous side helping of sunshine and dirt.
See how our preschool children had fun learning about plants with hands on science activities and experiences!

Sunshine and dirt, books and families... the recipe for a perfect spring day! 


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