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Spring SAVY 2023: Becoming a Botanist for Kindergarten

Posted by on Monday, January 30, 2023 in blog, SAVY, Uncategorized.

Day 3: Saturday, February 11

Today students applied their knowledge of plants to discussions about trees. The book Be a Tree by Maria Gianferrari contains many facts about trees that we used to determine how a tree is a system. The book also draws comparisons between trees and people. Students thought abstractly and made connections between plants and people during a class discussion of the book.

We completed our final observations of the plants in the basic needs experiment. Though all plants are still living, students observed changes in each. They concluded that the plant without soil was impacted less than the plant without light and the plant without water. Students learned what happens to plants when they die and learned the word decomposition. I taught students about composting and the impact nutrient-rich compost has when it is used as soil for living plants. Students made observations of samples I brought of compost at different stages and sequenced the samples.

It was a joy to teach your children about botany! I hope they learned information about plants that they can use. They brought home a “mini greenhouse” in a plastic bag so they can watch beans begin to sprout. I recommend hanging the bag in a sunny window and keeping the paper towel damp. Hopefully this will be a good winter plant experiment. In spring, encourage your child to pay attention to flowers and new growth on trees. Your child may want to pick one plant in your yard to collect data on by sketching or photographing the plant each day and observing changes. Growing plants from seed is another powerful way to experience the life cycle first hand.

Thank you for visiting our classroom to learn about some of the experiments students did during this course. The children were excited to share their learning with you! I hope their experience with the scientific method will inspire them to ask questions and conduct experiments on their own! Thank you for giving your child this opportunity to learn at SAVY. I hope to see the students back on campus in the future!

Day 2: Saturday, February 4

During our morning meeting, students shared their plant observations from the week. We reviewed the five senses to prepare for our morning investigation. Students dissected flowers and examined them using smell, sight, and touch. Students shared their observations and the parts of the flower they observed. We made a common list of parts of the flowers observed, then used the list to make generalizations about flowers.

Our afternoon experiment was a seed dissection. We reviewed the scientific process. Students worked in groups of three. For each phase of the experiment, the students dissected a seed, used a magnifying glass to observe the inside, talked with their group about the parts they observed, and sketched the inside of the seed. We did this investigation with beans, corn kernels, and sunflower seeds. Each research team shared their results and data was recorded to form a conclusion using observations from the whole class.

If you’d like to talk with your child about what they learned today, these prompts may be helpful:

  • What did all the flowers observed have in common?
  • Did all flowers have the same number of petals?
  • Why are pollinators important to flowers?
  • What are some plants that people eat?
  • How do seeds move?
  • What are the parts of a seed? (seed cost, food/nutrients, embryo)

I look forward to one more Saturday of studying botany. Have a nice week!

Day 1: Saturday, January 28

Today we did several activities to get to know one another and build community. We shared background knowledge about plants and asked questions about plants to guide our learning. Through literature and whole group discussions, we discussed the role of a scientist in conducting investigations. Students were introduced to these generalizations about systems: 

  1. Systems have parts.

  2. Systems have boundaries.

  3. Systems may have inputs and outputs.

  4. A system’s parts interact with each other and they interact with a system’s inputs.

We started an experiment to see what happens when the basic needs of a plant aren’t met. We will check on the plants each time we meet and record observations. Students brought home a terrarium they made. We used the terrarium to better understand systems. These are some questions you may wish to ask to help your child review the concept of systems:

  • “What are the parts of the terrarium system?”
  • “What is the boundary of this system?”
  • “What did you put in the system?” (input)
  • “How do parts of the system interact?”

In learning about scientists, we discussed the importance of being observant and noticing the natural world around us. I challenged each student to pay attention to plants they see (indoors and outdoors) this week. If possible, students may bring in a leaf, drawing, or photograph of the plant in their green folder to share next Saturday. Each student will have the opportunity to teach their peers the name of the plant and tell us what they observed when investigating the plant. 

I look forward to seeing your junior botanist again next Saturday!