Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kindergarten Botanists

Spring time brings flowers blooming, birds singing and children playing.  The days become longer and the weather becomes warmer.  Although the signs of spring are showing later than expected, the children are super excited about what is to come.  With that being said, I truly cannot believe that the end of our Kindergarten year is approaching.  I always tell the kids, "Time flies when you are having fun", and without fail, someone yells, "time flies when your doing hard work"!  Boy, is that true.  These kids have blown me away with the amount of progress that has been going on.  They have become readers,  writers, mathematicians, and most recently, SCIENTISTS.  

A couple weeks ago, I told the children that they were going to be Kindergarten Botanists.  They all looked at me like I was crazy.  When I told them that Botanists were experts on plants. they all got very excited.  I asked what they thought we would be doing as Kindergarten Botanists.  Some of the responses were; "We are going to grow plants.", "We are going to watch a movie on plants", and some of the children even said, "We are going to study plants".   We talked about how observations are a huge part of being a scientist.  

When I told them that we were going to carefully observe the life cycle of a bean plant, I saw all of their eyebrows rise.  We started off the conversation with a discussion about living and non-living things.  We learned what living things need in order to stay alive.  They need WATER, FOOD, and AIR.  We also learned what the characteristics of living things are.  We used this PowerPoint and discussed each picture.  We finally came to the conclusion that these were the most important characteristics of living things.  This is the PowerPoint we used.  I borrowed it from the KindergartenKindergarten blog.  She does a really nice job of explaining the unit on living vs. non-living things.  Here is the PowerPoint

These are the 5 characteristics of living things;
1.  They must breathe
2.  They must move all by themselves
3.  They must grow and change
4.  They must reproduce
5.  They need food and water to survive

We even  talked about the difference of living and once living.  They all wanted to know about sticks on the ground.  They said that a tree is a living thing and a stick was once part of a tree.  So it was decided that sticks were "once living".  We talked about how a lot of things in nature were living, but not all things.  Some of the objects that were non-living were rocks, swings, sand, a bench, etc.  We did some sorting of living and non living things.  I made an interactive sort for the whiteboard and the children loved moving each item to the correct column.  This is what it looked like:

As Kindergarten Botanists, we decided to start the lifecycle of our bean plant by putting them in plastic cups with paper towels.  This way we could see the first change a seed makes during it's journey.  We knew we had to be patient and soon enough we would start to see the roots grow! We knew we needed to keep the beans nice and moist.  They also needed sunlight to start the process so we put each cup right on the windowsill.  We also started out Bean Plant Journal.  The children knew if they wanted to be real botanists, they would have to keep track of their observations.  For their first entry, they talked about the process of putting the beans in the cup.  

We were very patient for about a week and a half!  By then, everyone had roots growing from their bean seeds.  It was now time to transfer them from the paper towel to the soil.  We talked about how the soil contained nutrients that the plant would need and how the roots had two jobs.  They were to keep the plant in place and also to soak up the water and nutrients from the soil and send them to the stem of the plant.  Take a look at how Mrs. T and the kids transferred their bean seeds very carefully.  Of course, as scientists do, they made an entry in their observation journals.  This time the picture they drew looked very different.

For the next two weeks, we watched our bean plants go through it's life cycle.  After the roots grew, the stem started to sprout and the baby plant began to grow.  Soon enough, the baby plant or seedling sprouted through the top of the soil and the leaves started to grow.  Take a peek at all of my little Kindergarten Botanists.  They were all very fortunate that each of their plants sprouted and started growing leaves.  I hope they made it home to you the way they left school.  :)  Of course, the only plant not to grow leaves, was MINE!  The kids told me that I just need to be patient! HA.. they crack me up!

Here is my plant.  I guess the kids are right.. I just need to be patient.  
I will keep you all updated as to weather or not my leaves start to grow!


To finish off our bean plant unit, the children all were able to sequence the life cycle of a bean plant and explain each step.   They did an awesome job!