Friday, May 3, 2019

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Fern Life Cycle - Plant Theme Preschool Activity

My 6-year old has been wanting to study plants, so we've been doing a lot of plant theme preschool activities lately too! This fern life cycle project can be adapted for older and younger kids and you can go into as much detail as you want!

First of all, I would start this project (and as many as you can during your preschool plant theme) by going on a nature walk and looking for ferns and fiddleheads! Ferns are pretty easy to spot in any forest, especially near a river or creek. Fiddleheads are the curled up precursors to fern leaves (called fronds)--they happen to be the reason my kids are interested in ferns! While we were on a nature walk recently, they found a bunch, and LOVED how they looked! They also thought that the idea of a whole big leaf (as tall as them) all rolled up into one little fiddlehead was pretty amazing! So I let them take pictures of the ferns and fiddleheads we found on our nature walk (using a phone camera is awesome technology experience for kids!) and we talked about how ferns grow.

The next day, I made this little life cycle circle activity for them!

I put the images in order for you on the printable...if your kids cut them out they will probably mix up the order, or you can cut them out and mix up the order yourself. Or you can let them keep them in order! 

After you set up the pieces (in order or not!), give them one page with the whole life cycle circle on it and let them glue the pieces onto it in order.

Finally, cut out the last blank life cycle circle, and cut out one of the triangles to make a viewing hole. It works best if you don't cut all the way to the center, but if you do you can use hole reinforcers to make a space for the little brass fastener. (Small confession: this is what I had to do!)

Once you connect the viewer, it is easy for your preschooler to "turn" the pages of the life cycle of the fern and explain how it works! 

Here's a brief summary of the fern life cycle, in case you're less familiar with it!

(1) The prothallus (the picture at the top that looks like a seed with a root) is about one cell thick and less than a centimeter wide. It creates egg and sperm cells that (2) require moisture (like rain, heavy dew, or a waterfall) to wash into each other.
(3) Once an egg is fertilized it begins to grow little roots and a little stalk.
(4) The stalk grows into a fiddlehead—the curled-up precursor of a fern frond!
(5) The fiddlehead unfolds into a large, compound leaf, or frond.

(6) Some of those fronds will grow spores on the under side of their leaves. When the spores open, more prothalli will be released!

Some fun facts about ferns that we don't often think about include the following:
1- They do not make flowers or seeds.
2- They often grow near moisture like rivers, creeks, and waterfalls.
3- They are considered "vascular plants" because they have paths for food and water to travel.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Are you doing a plant theme with your preschoolers? If so, check out my seed and plant cards too! I hope you love them! 

I think plants are a fantastic hands-on science topic you can study with preschoolers and older kids! And finding them outside growing happily in nature makes it an even more exciting topic!

Anyway, I hope you love your preschool plant theme and enjoy learning about the fern life cycle!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

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