Monday, April 30, 2012

From seeds to plants and everything in between...

Last week we began our unit on seeds and plants -- my all time favorite unit of the whole school year!  I am not yet following the Montessori Botany album, but instead am adapting the way I have taught this unit in the past to a more Montessori style!

I always start this unit off with the study of seeds, since that is where plants come from.  Then, I move on to the parts of a plant, etc.  So, last week was all about seeds - where seeds come from; the parts of a seed; what seeds need to grow, and how seeds grow.  Next week we will begin learning about the parts of a plant.

Books we read this week:

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan

First, we learned about where seeds come from.  I made up a tray with 6 different fruits & vegetables on it.  During circle time, I cut each fruit/veggie open so that the kids could see the seeds inside.  We discussed that seeds come from plants and that each of these fruits and veggies grow on some sort of plant.  Unfortunately, I missed taking a picture of the tray of fruits & veggies, but I'm sure you get the basic idea!

I also made a sorting/matching work from the free seed and plant matching cards from Montessori Print Shop.  I added small plastic containers of each kind of seed depicted on the cards.  The child lays out the small containers of seeds in a row at the top of his/her rug, then matches the seed picture cards, and finally matches the corresponding plant picture cards.  Below is a picture of this work:

I also added magnifying glasses so the kids could have a closer look at the seeds.
 After we learned about where seeds come from, we went on to learn about the parts of a seed.  I used the free parts of a seed 3-part cards and "My Parts of a Seed Booklet" from Montessori Workjobs.  I also soaked some lima bean seeds in water overnight so that I could open them up the next day to show the kids the parts of a seed.  Again, I introduced these things during circle time.  Below are pictures of these works:

Parts of a Seed 3-part cards with magnifying glasses and soaked lima beans.  The kids could open up the lima beans to discover the parts of the seed inside!
"My Parts of a Seed Booklet"
One of the kids working on the seed booklet!

As we were learning about where seeds come from and the parts of a seed, we were busy doing the funnest part of all - actually planting seeds!  We planted lots and lots of seeds!  First, we planted grass seed using this fun idea from Mrs. Marcy's Preschool - scroll down her page until you see the silly faces on clear plastic cups.  Yup, that's right, we planted grass seed in clear plastic cups, cut out funny faces, and stuck them to the front of the cups.  Once the grass grows we will have funny faces with "hair!"  Below are pictures of our grass seed projects:

I'll post updated pics once they start growing!

We also planted lima bean seeds in clear baby food jars.  The kids filled the jars with dirt, stuck a finger down the side of the jar to make a hole for the seed (so we could watch the seed grow through the glass), put the seed in the hole, gave them some water, and put the jars on the windowsill.  Below is a really bad picture of the jars by the window.  My phone takes really bag pics when there is a lot of direct sun light.

Next, we planted each of the seeds from the seed sorting work I mentioned earlier in this post - in what else but a fish tank!  This was an extra project for anyone who wanted to participate - and most of the kids wanted to get in on it!  Below is a picture of the fish tank with the seeds planted inside:

From left to right - sunflower seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, pumpkin seed, poppy seeds, sesame seeds,  flax seeds, and fennel seeds - I put a label with the same of each seed above where it was planted.

But, we didn't stop there!  The kids were so excited about planting seeds in the fish tank that I brought out all of the kinds of bean seeds that I have and we planted each of those as well - on the other side of the fish tank!  Below is a picture of the bean seeds planted in the fish tank:

From left to right - lima bean, black eyed pea, kidney bean, black bean, pinto bean, great northern bean - again, I labeled each one.
 The last thing we planted were basil seeds.  We planted these using peat pots and peat pellets instead of potting soil.  The kids liked watching the peat pellets expand with water!  Below is a picture of one of the kids planting the basil seeds:

The 3's class kids also did an additional project involving 20 night crawlers - yes, I mean those big worms used for fishing!  We made a worm farm using a giant glass jar, potting soil, sand, and gavel.  First, I put in a layer of gravel on the bottom of the jar.  Then, the kids scooped in soil and sand in alternating layers. I then covered the jar with construction paper to block out the light so the worms would come right to the edge of the jar to make their trails in the dirt.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the worm farm before I covered it with paper to block out the light, but I didn't.  I guess it's easy to miss stuff like that when you are in the middle of a bunch of excited kids!  Finally, we added all 20 worms to the top of the jar.  Below are some pics that I did manage to get during the process:

Picking up the squirmy worms to put in the jar!
Look at that pile of worms!
The finished product!

Waiting for those worms to dig their way down!  It actually took them almost 24 hours to all go down into the dirt.  And, yes, I was worried when I left school that they might escape and be squirming all over the classroom the next morning!  But, they were not!

 Well, that's it for today!  I will post more later this week about our seeds and plants unit.  For more fun ideas for your classroom, please check out my Lesson Plans to Pots and Pans Facebook page!

I am linking up with Montessori Monday via Living Montessori Now!

Montessori Monday

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is awesome fun! You did a great job!!!! I think your kiddos are going to learn alot! Happy Schooling!