Friday, October 31, 2014

Sprouting roots

Isaac replanted the winter cactus.
Isaac: We can't find the roots anymore.
Morah Katie: Why not?
Isaac: Because we hid them in the soil.
The children continue to explore plants.
We are extending our understanding of plants in a few ways this week.
Natan took the block tree that was laying on our floor and created vertically. 
He created a tree and flower. He took a further step and labeled the parts of his block plants.

We began some root sprouting experiments. 
We twisted the stem off a pineapple. 

Morah Katie: We have tried this before, with zero success. This is one of the many things I like about science, sometimes things don't turn out the way you want.  When that happens should you just give up?
Kids: No.
Morah Katie: We can always try again. Our expectation is that we can sprouts roots from the stem. 
It may or may not be successful, but we can try.
We will also try to get an avocado seed to sprout. 
Morah Katie: How many days do yo think it will take for the avocado to sprout roots?
Natan: 45 days
Sroli: 62 days.
Morah Katie: We may have to wait a while.
We are keeping a chart for all our plant experiments to be sure to keep track of how long we wait.

We discovered that maize/indian corn can also sprout roots. 
The maize was very intriguing.
Abigail: Morah Katie what is this? Why is the corn purple?
Amelia: It's indian corn.
Morah Katie: We are going to experiment with the indian corn, or maize, and see if it sprouts roots.
Abigail: It is so pretty. I like the purple.
Morah Katie: How many different colors do you see?
Abigail: Purple, yellow, white, blue red.
Morah Katie: Would you like to make your own?
Sofia: Yes.
Morah Katie: What will you need?
Sofia: Scissors. Paper.
Abigail: Glue and lots of colors.
The colorful corn inspired conversation and an unexpected craft. The girls needed to decide what tools they would use to create their own "fancy" corn.  They gathered the supplies and set to work creating.

We indirectly expanded our knowledge of plants through crafts.
We created our own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coconut trees.
Morah Katie: What do you need to create your tree?
Sroli: A trunk and leaves.
Anton: Coconuts, they are fruit.
Morah Katie: How are you going to make your tree?
Sroli: Scissors and glue.
Morah Katie: What part of your tree will the alphabet letters climb up?
Natan: The trunk, stem if not a tree. And my letters will be at the top of the tree on the leaves.
We practiced and reinforced counting as the children created a carrot garden.
Each carrot bottom had a number on it. The children cut the bottoms, then added the correct number of leaves for that carrot root.
These activities provide the children with opportunities to share their knowledge with us. 
In addition, these crafts develop and reinforce a few important skills for success and independence in a classroom:
  • concentration as they follow through on a multi-step activity
  • fine motor control as they cut and pinch paper to glue; 
  • sounds and letter recognition; 
  • counting, sorting quantities and numeral recognition

We used one of our tallest classroom plants to measure our heights.
 As of October 30, 2014 no one is yet as tall as the plant; we will measure in May and see if that has changed.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Young Botanists

Morah Katie: What does a botanist study?
Natan: They study plants.
Morah Katie: Can you tell me something most plants have?
Sofia: Leaves.
Sroli: Roots.
Natan: Stems.
Judah: Flowers.
Morah Katie: What do all plants need?
Clara: They need sunshine.
Sofia: They need water.
Sroli: They need dirt.
We used real vegetables to help us learn the different parts of the plant.
The children used their sense of smell to explore their new creation; their fingers touched the delicate leaves, the hearty celery, and the stiff petals of the artichoke flower.
They decided the onion was a smelly root.
We sorted pictures of parts of the plants under each real edible plant part.
We used art to further gain understanding of the plant.
The collage craft presents the children with an opportunity to create their own flower, while demonstrating their understanding of the plant structure.
The chalkboard wall on the playground provided a huge canvas for creativity and expression.
Natan: We need clouds for the rain.

We re-potted a plant to allow us to feel and hold roots.

To better understand the function of the stem of plants we ran an experiment.
What will happen if we put white carnations in colored water?
It turns out that stems do bring water from roots to the leaves and petals, proof was seen in our transformed flowers.
We tried the experiment with edible stems.

The celery is a stem vegetable, the leaves changed color!

We enjoyed eating plants for snack.
We looked at the bottom of asparagus and saw the tiny holes in the stem.
We put an asparagus stem in water to see if it would change color. 
We ate our favorite stems, celery. We drank water with straws to help us imagine the celery "sucking up" the water  to the leaves.
We often eat fruits at snack. We know it is fruit because we see seeds!
Olivia: I have a seed on my hand!
Sofia: The dragon fruit has a lot of seeds.
Sroli: The avocado has a big seed, it is called a pit. 

Morah Katie: Raise your hand if you are a botanist? (All raise hands) Tell me botanists, what do roots do?
Abigail: They're in the ground.
Natan: When it is windy roots make the plants not fall over.
Morah Katie: What do stems do?
Abigail: They suck up the water from roots.
Natan: Like when we put colored water in a jar and we put a stem with a flower in the jar and the flower turns a rainbow flower from the water in the jar.
Morah Katie: I remember our stem experiment. Tell me, what do leaves do? 
Abigail: Make food for the plant.
Morah Katie: What do flowers do?
Anton: Makes seeds.
Morah Katie: What part of the plant keeps seeds safe?
Isaac: The fruit.
Morah Katie: The fruit protect the seed so they can do what?
Anton: Grow more flowers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I am making a sukkah!
I am making a lulav and etrog!
Morah Katie: What do our Sukkah walls remind us of?
Natan: The clouds.
Morah Katie: Tell me more about the clouds.
Sroli: Hashem gave them because of the blowy sand and hot sun.
Amelia: And the snakes.
Morah Katie: Who did he send the clouds for?
Sroli: The people walking (in the desert), the Jewish people.
Morah Katie: When we walk into our sukkah what do the walls remind us of?
Abigail: A hug.
Morah Katie: From who?
Sroli: Hashem.
Natan: He is always there.

The rain stayed away and we enjoyed lunch in the sukkah.
Rabbi helped us say the special bracha.
We also discovered a little visitor.
 Amelia: Look is it a parading man!
Natan: A praying mantis! It is so awesome! Look how beautiful it is!
Morah Tzivie: We have our sukkah, what are these?
Abigail: Etrog and lulav!
Morah Tzivie: During Sukkot we make a special blessing with the lulav and etrog.
Rabbi lead us in the special blessing as we held the lulav and estrog and shook them together!

 We had a very windy rainy day, but as we were preparing for lunch we noticed something outside.
Morah Katie: What is happening? 
Sroli: Hashem is sending the sun!
Natan: He is moving the clouds!
Morah Katie: What is the blue thing? 
Amelia: The sky! The sun is coming!