Math Workshop

Themes & Holidays

My Classroom

Earth Day, Arbor Day and Organisms!

I don't know about you, but my kiddos this year LOVE science! I am so thankful to be a part of a school district that still encourages and supports science inquiry, despite all the changes with the Common Core. Last week we kicked off our Organisms unit! It is actually... AWESOME! I am learning so much too. Ha!

First we took a little living vs. nonliving pre-assessment by doing a picture cut & sort. Then we activated our background knowledge by going outside to explore the world around us. The kiddos recorded a list of examples of organisms in their science journals before coming back into the classroom to create a shared list. I love being able to give all of their little minds some "private thinking time" before having them share out to the class. :) This is always a great way to make each kiddo accountable for their learning. They are always SO enthusiastic about sharing their thinking and being able to think of a unique answer. I also remember reading somewhere that when listing examples, a way to include high order thinking is to ask the kiddos to think of non-examples.

Our science kit allows my class the chance to explore seeds, plants, bugs, guppies in their natural habitat (terrarium & aquarium). Being that Earth Day and Arbor Day are quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to start with planting. We used our senses to observe and record our findings for 4 types of seeds. Learning to smell like a scientist, or "wafting", was at the height of the lesson. I got such a kick out of seeing their cute little hands waft the 4 types of seeds. :) We even got to use magnifying glasses!!!! After a very long and repetitive conversation about the difference between TOOLS and TOYS- a talk we have in math just about everyday. I know you understand. :) 

After some independent exploration, I broke the 24 kiddos into 4 teams of 6. Each team planted two of the same seed. We talked about plant needs, how to plant, where to put the seed and of course, how much water is a "just right" amount. We definitely don't want any drowning seeds... or tears! 

We did all this great scientist work last week so that when we returned this weekend.. POP! We had some little squirts. I must admit, I left on Friday worrying that when I returned Monday, I would find no sprouts and some very unhappy firsties. Luckily that was not the case! PHEW! Instead, we found seedlings all in different stages of the life cycle. What a great teachable moment for the kiddos to make connections! While some seeds didn't show any evidence of growth, some had roots and others even a sprout. Therefore plants are like people, we all grow at different times and some of us are "late bloomers." Ha! 

In order for us to watch our seedlings grow into plants, I am taking this week to supplement with some great Earth Day and Arbor Day activities. How perfect, right?! I always feel like a super teacher when I can get the timing perfectly with our curriculum and meaningful holidays. :) 

I love starting a discussion with some big idea questions to get our little minds busy. I asked them what they thought reduce, reuse and recycle meant. Then I asked them how they thought that might have something to do with Earth Day. After getting some predictable answers, I played us this video with Jack Johnson's "The 3 R's" song. They loved that little song. We will definitely be playing that again this week!

Then I read aloud, "The Earth Book" by Todd Parr. Who doesn't love Todd Parr... his illustrations are so recognizable and unique, another great example of style for our little writers. We explored cause and effect text structures last week and I was so thrilled to see they realized this book had a similar structure! This helped us come up with examples to complete some of the freebies I got from the fabulous Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade and Ms. Makinson on TPT.

Tomorrow we will take a nature walk and build a shared list of ways to "help the earth" before whipping out this premade (shhhhhhh! :)) anchor chart. Of course another idea inspired by Cara Carroll- it could never compete with her original though! 

Friday we will take some time to read Maple by Lori Nichols to introduce the importance of trees. :) Afterwards, we'll read the freebie printable reader by FirstGradeFunTimes on TPT and do the comprehension check. Thank you so much ladies for all the Earth Day freebies to make our science learning FUN and meaningful. :)

Happy Earth Day and Arbor Day everyone!

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