Showing posts from December, 2015

Happy Winter!

Every year our kids make gifts for their parents. This year's gift is very much related to the subject we have been exploring in class. All Fall we have been talking about trees. It started with leaves and soon became a full on, long term exploration about trees. Studying the life cycle of the tree seems fitting with the season. Winter Solstice is the celebration of the return of the light. The trees and all living things are effected by the Earths tilted rotation around the sun. What a great time to take some time to rejoice in the wonder that is our beautiful planet Earth, to celebrate our connection to something bigger than ourselves, and our connection to all the living things that call Earth their home. We collected things that come from trees. Cinnamon, a variety of nuts, fresh cuttings from pine and fruit we had previously dehydrated. We filled mason jars with our collection. We call this our tree potpourri.  The little cards we tied to the jars with ribbon were also created w…


Seeing the interest the children had making patterns with the fruit slices, we set up a provocation inviting the children to create more patterns this time using loose materials from our studio.

We provided the opportunity to draw the pattern they made using colored pencils.

Dehydrating Fruit

Today we used a dehydrator to dry apples, oranges and lemons in preparation for our holidays gifts. To explain the dehydration process, we asked the question, "what does it mean when something is hydrated." "There's water. It's juicy." - Cassius  "Well,then what does it mean when something is dehydrated?"  "It's not juicy." - Cassius  We predicted what we thought would happens to the fruits when the water was removed. Some said the fruit would get bigger, some thought it would get smaller, others agreed that it would change colors.  As the children placed the sliced fruit on the drying racks, we thought it would be interesting to explain the concept of patterns and see if anyone would place the different fruit in a pattern. Some caught on right away and took to making patterns in other areas of the classroom. 

It Grows On Trees!

We have been talking a lot about things that grow on trees. We set out fruit, a type of nut and pictures of the trees they came from. We wondered if the children could match them with the trees. We extended this activity by having the seeds of the fruit available giving the children the opportunity to match the seeds to their fruit. After matching the seeds, we used the opportunity to count them and discuss the similarities and differences between them. Some noticed that all the seeds were a different size, color and shape. So many teachable moments came from such a simple matching activity!

Jadera bugs

After the discovery we made under the bark on the branches, we started talking about insects. How do we know if something is an insect?, Where do they live?, what do they eat?  We have an insect that lives on our playground that the children have always been fascinated with. The jadera lives on our playground because they eat the seeds of our golden rain tree.  We decided to capture a few of them so we could take a closer look. The children drew pictures of them with colored pencils. It was a great way to show us a bit about what they already knew, and what they are learning about insects and the jadera in particular.

The Bark on Trees

The children knew from previous conversations and reading books about trees that bark protects the tree from the "elements". We had a great class discussion about what "elements" are. This led to a conversation about how most living things, animals and humans alike need protection from these "elements". This knowledge came in handy when the children discovered small insects living under the bark on these branches.  The children were given the opportunity to remove the bark from branches. The branches were "dead". We talked about how they don't need their bark any more so it was ok to remove it. The children figured out why the small hammers and golf tees were on the table when fingers alone could not remove any more of the bark. This is where the fun began!  It was great to watch the ones who had already figured out that you had to place the golf tee sideways, wedging it slightly under the bark, instruct the others.  There was a magnifying glas…