The PEEP science curriculum includes outdoor exploration in every unit. Our timing is perfect: We’re experiencing warm, spring-like weather and plants and trees are budding all around us. I led a field trip this week and used the opportunity to visit a nature trail and have the children experience the greening of plants and trees up close. There’s plants growing in the water!
In addition to spending a whole morning outdoors investigating flora in natural surroundings, we also collected forsythia buds to put in water and watch over back in the classroom. The forsythia buds open very quickly and the children are able to notice changes daily.
On Day 3, Angel sees the buds swelling. I think they’re going to be green leaves, he said knowingly. Two days later, he is surprised to see something he did not expect. Flowers! Flowers! The flowers came out, he shouted, pulling others by the hand to share his discovery.
To reinforce vocabulary, I used an inflatable sunflower plant with Velcro parts. I asked the children to work together and build this “sunflower”, using the terms roots, stem, leaves, flower, and seeds with each other while working. I listened in while they collaborated on the assembly of the flower. Start with the roots because the roots go down. … Put the seeds inside the flower—they belong in the middle. As always, it was informative to me as a teacher. I heard them negotiating, taking turns and helping each other, and sharing in the satisfaction of successfully completing their goal.
Beyond watching for children’s comprehension of scientific concepts, I also evaluate social skills, language, approach to learning, and logic and reasoning. (For the children, the collaboration is just lots of fun!)
I also extended the topic of plants into our math center with a craft-stick flower counting game.
Imagination and creativity were further enhanced by using our dramatic play area as a “Flower Shop”. The children’s early understanding of commerce was apparent when they offered items for sale, prepared floral arrangements per “customer” request, and used the cash register, “credit or debit” cards, and appropriate shopping etiquette. Would you like a bag? Thank you, come again. This became a social studies extension.
Our PEEP video this week was Collecting and Sorting. It was especially appropriate after our outdoor exploration.