I began a new topic of study this week using the PEEP science curriculum on Plants.
First, I began a discussion about plants and seeds so I might understand the children’s prior knowledge and experiences with planting. Some children apparently were acquainted with planting; one said, If you plant a seed in the ground you get an apple tree. Or flowers, added another child. When I asked, How does that happen? They replied, People have to water it every day.
Before heading to the science table to work with the planting materials, I asked each child to visit our computer and watch the PEEP video, “Experimenting with Seeds.” This clip provides visual as well as spoken explanation of some real children’s experience sprouting seeds in a wet paper towel within a plastic sandwich bag. In many of the PEEP science curriculum units, I will hold off on the video until after a hands-on activity. In this case, I wanted to see if children would be able to follow the steps independently after watching.
Many were able to go straight to work, using the materials I had provided to moisten their paper towels, sprinkle on an assortment of seeds and beans, fold the paper towel, and place it inside the plastic bag. A few children needed some support to recall the procedure, while others were so proficient that they were eager to lend their expertise!
Within an hour, I was getting inquiries like, Did mine grow yet? and Can I check my seeds? I realized then that the children were unaware of the passage of time in the video. They may have heard the little girl say, in about a week, but didn’t comprehend that piece of the process. I sure hope these are the world’s fastest growing beans!
We also planted some seeds in soil. The children selected their choice of flower or vegetable seeds and planted them, with the soil, in recycled plastic cups. They took this work very seriously and positioned the seeds and sprayed them with water with great care.
For an added sensory experience, I filled our sand table with soil and added pots, shovels, and artificial flowers. The children enjoyed filling and refilling the pots with soil and arranging the flowers in different ways.
So, what are they LEARNING?
The PEEP science curriculum provides a correlation chart with The HeadStart Outcomes Framework. As a teacher in Massachusetts, I also consider which of the state frameworks are being met, particularly the science frameworks.
Massachusetts Framework targeted in this unit: Science and Technology/Engineering. Strand: Life Science (preK-8) Topic: Characteristics of Living Things
- Recognize that animals (including humans) and plants are living things that grow, reproduce, and need food, air, and water.
- Differentiate between living and nonliving things. Group both living and nonliving things according to the characteristics that they share.
- Recognize that plants and animals have life cycles, and that life cycles vary for different living things.