The children worked cooperatively last week in their “Expert Groups”. They had to decide which group they wanted to focus on and become an expert in-Fish, Birds, or Mammals. Once in their group, they were given several resource books to read and look through. They took notes and discussed what made their animal group unique compared to the others. Then the experts shared what they learned with the rest of the class. Ask your child what group s/he was in and what they learned,
These are all pieces of equipment that have been designed to solve human problems by mimicking animals in our natural world. The children worked in pairs and were given a checklist of animals. Their job was to match the animal structure to the piece of equipment that was developed by humans to mimic that structure. For example, webbed feet on a duck inspired swim fins and a coyote’s night vision was the inspiration for night vision goggles. The kids had a blast making all of the connections between the animal parts and human inventions.
A special thank you to Amy Mayer for organizing and planning this activity.
NGSS From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
- Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World
- Structure and Function
On Monday, the children were very excited to see that some of their seeds had sprouted. A few of the bean seeds had sprouted, one sunflower, and one marigold. The children were eager to record their growth and draw a labeled diagram. We also decided to conduct a few experiments. As a group the children agreed that plants need water, sunlight, air, and soil to grow. We set up experiments with some of our bean seeds to see what would happen if we took those away. We decided to set up 4 controlled experiments, allowing each of the plants 3 out of the 4 essential things that they need to grow. One plant won’t receive water, the second will not get any sunlight, the third no air, and the fourth will not be placed in soil to grow. They’ve made predictions, but are eager to see what is going to happen.
On Friday we started to talk about seeds and plants and what they need to grow. I read, How a Seed Grows and we discussed the process a seed goes through as it grows into a plant. The children explored a variety of vegetable and flower seeds. I gave each group a small pile of seeds, but I did not tell them what kind of seeds they had. In groups they discussed the characteristics of their seeds and wrote down what they noticed about the seed’s size, texture, color, shape, etc. Then I asked them to decide as a group what type of seed they thought they had. The conversations were fun to listen to as these little scientists used what they observed about the seeds to make an educated guess. They were very surprised when I told them what kind of seeds they had and that their seeds didn’t look anything like the plant they would become.
Our animals have arrived! A special thank you to Cole, a former RES student for letting us borrow the majority of these magnificent creatures. The beautiful bobcat came from a Bristol resident and the sly fox from the Lincoln library. Also, thank you Andy for transporting them to our classroom today. The kids shrieked with excitement as they arrived. We are very fortunate to get a close-up view of these amazing wild creatures while we learn more about them.
Meet our newest classroom member. Her name is Kit and she is a beautiful fox from Lincoln, VT. She’s visiting our classroom for about 6 weeks. She is the first to arrive, but will soon be joined by many more of her wildlife friends. We are eager for their arrival.
Our next learning focus will be on Vermont mammals, birds, and fish.
“Fur, Fins, & Feathers”
The children are fantastic investigators and have been carefully observing the ants in our ant farm. They’ve been very surprised by how quickly the ants create and dig out their tunnels. Since there has been such a genuine interest in the ants, I’ve added some other insects for the children to examine. They love to get out the magnifying glasses and watch the ants work. They named the area our “Insect Corner”. Many of these young scientists have been choosing to spend their time reading and learning about ants, and then sharing their new learning with their classmates during Morning Meeting.
Did you know that ants don’t have lungs? Instead, they breathe through tiny holes in their sides- Spiracles
“Hey…hey… you have to come see this!! The petals are turning blue. We can see where the water is going.”
That was this morning’s excitement when the children went over to the window to check on our experiment. They can’t wait to see what the rose looks like on Monday. The children did an amazing job of recording their findings and drawing a labeled diagram of our experiment. They will make their final observations on Monday.
The other day some beautiful flowers(white roses and yellow chrysanthemums) found their way into my classroom. The children had noticed and admired their fragrance and varied shapes, but otherwise hadn’t said too much about them. But this morning that all changed… We were sitting in circle finishing up a previous activity and I happened to glance over at the vase flowers. I posed the question, ” Why do we put cut flowers into water”? The children shared a variety of different ideas, but in the end they all agreed that without water the flowers would wither away and die quickly. They also agreed that the flowers are definitely using the water because otherwise they wouldn’t still be alive. So then I posed the question, “How do the flowers get the water?” Then several eager hands shot up from learners wanting to share their ideas…
- “the tiny little bumps in the stem absorb the water”.
- ” the water goes in through the part of the stem that’s sitting in the water”.
- “water goes up through the bottom of the stem… the part that’s cut”.
After we discussed their ideas about how the flowers accessed the water, the children wondered where the water went once it got into the stem. I suggested that we add some food coloring to the water to see if that helps us see the path of the water. We decided to investigate and set up a control vase and a test vase. We filled the control vase with clear tap water and added blue food coloring to the test vase. The children recorded their experiment using labeled diagrams and are very eager to see if there is any noticeable change tomorrow morning. They had some predictions about what might happen to the flowers with the food coloring added to the water…
- “the flowers will die quickly because the food coloring probably contains chemicals”.
- “nothing will happen”.
- “the flowers might change colors”.
- “the part of the stem that’s in the water will change color from the dye”.
We’ll have to wait and see!
2-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES (Planning and Carrying out investigations)