Thursday, April 16, 2015

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Preschool Botany Class: Day 1

Today I am very excited to bring you the first day in our online Preschool Botany Class!

This online botany class is totally free!  You can join in as we go, or wait until all the lessons are up and choose your favorites!  They would work great for a spring/summer weekly camp, a week-long preschool unit, or just as a fun way to introduce your kiddos into the exciting world of plants!  The lessons are all targeted to a preschool (2-6 year old) audience, but can easily be adapted for elementary students too.  I actually have a 2nd grader doing the lessons with us, and I will include a few notes for older kids.

So, let's get started!

Topics & Skills Covered in Day 1:

* Parts of a plant
* Sorting
* Art
* Fine Motor Skills
* Colors
* First Sound Discrimination

Supplies for Day 1:

* An outdoor path with flowers OR cut flowers from a store OR pictures of flowers
* A large area for sorting (optional: trays)
* Construction Paper 
* Glue
* Scissors
* Green Onions
* Small cup

Preschool Botany Class:Day 1 Lesson:

1.  Take your children on a walk to an area where they can pick wildflowers.  Let them gather a collection of flowers, roots, stems, and leaves.

This is definitely the best choice, but if it is not an option, pull out a collection of store-bought flowers, flowers you picked from a roadside, or pictures of flowers.  Try to get a collection of flowers, stems, leaves, and roots.

2.  Spread your collection out in an area where everyone can see and reach it easily.  I used a huge piece of butcher paper outside.

3.  Find out what your kiddos know about the parts of flowers already and teach them any new parts.  Pick up a root and ask "What is this?"  If no one knows, explain that it is a root.  Roots collect water from the ground for the plant.  See if your children can find little tiny hairs that pull water out from the soil.  (At your next snack, use a straw with your water and pretend you are roots drinking water for the plants!)  What does "root" start with?  R!  Place the root in its own pile or in a sorting tray.

Leaves make food (sugar) for the plant.  Older children can discuss how the leaves need carbon dioxide from the air, water from the soil, and sunlight to make sugar (glucose).  Oxygen is a by-product...that we love!  :)  What does "leaf" start with?  L!  Place the leaves in their own pile or sorting tray.

Flowers grow seeds!  Older children can identify the petals, stamen (holds pollen), and pistil (holds an egg).  They also attract bees and other pollinators to spread pollen so the flowers can grow seeds.  Older children can learn that in order for a seed to grow, the pollen must enter the egg.  What does "flower" start with?  F!  Place the flower in its own pile or sorting tray.

4.  Sort all the flowers, leaves, and roots!  Let your kiddos cut the flowers off of the roots as they go.  As your children sort (or after, if they don't like distractions!), talk about the colors of the flowers, which pile they go in, and review the first letter of "roots," "flowers," and "leaves" by exaggerating the words (ie. say "rrrrrrrroots," "f- f- f- flowers," and "llllllleaves").

After you've sorted, depending on your children's attention spans, you can practice comparing by talking about the biggest flower, the shortest root, etc.

5.  Provide your children with a piece of construction paper and glue, and let them make a Flower Collage.  Nature art is super fun, very pretty, and let's your children create and express themselves as part of the learning process!

6.  Finally, begin this onion growing experiment with your children.  It is incredibly easy, but very rewarding to measure the growth every day.  As you begin, find the roots on the onions.  If possible, make something like spaghetti for lunch and let your children cut the onion tops into small pieces to put in your sauce.  

That's it!  Answer any questions and let your kiddos play with their flowers!  Have you ever made a daisy crown?  Today might be the perfect time to try!  

Did you try this lesson?  I'd love to see pictures!  You're welcome to share them here as a comment or on our PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page!  Be sure to join us in our next preschool botany lesson too!!

I may share at any of these parties!

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