Thursday, 29 May 2014

Plants in our Midst #5: We're Going on a Plant Hunt


 Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Share the Planet

Central Idea: Plants play a unique role in our lives and the lives of animals. 

Lines of inquiry: The feature of plants in our local area

This week the Water group focused on the different plants that can be found around the Pacific Spirit Park. We took a walk in the forest to gather leaves from different plants and tried to  identify their names. Even though the children felt it was a little difficult and confusing (some of the leaves looked quite similar), they showed such enthusiasm and commitment in learning about the different plants. We invited the Wind Group on a plant hunt. Before entering the forest, each child was given a plant card with the name and pictures of a plant and the goal was to locate the plant in the forest.

For a list of Plants and Fungi of Pacific Spirit Park please visit:

Plants in our Midst #4 - How Does a Plant Grow?

 How does a plant grow?

The children are still trying to figure out how the closed dandelion flower turned into dandelion seeds on our collage. We watched The Magic School Bus - Gets Planted ( and learned that a plant needs water, air and sun to grow. However, there was no water on our collage. Is it possible for a plant to grow without water, just dirt? It is time for an experiment! We planted beans in three different pots (Pot A, Pot B and Pot C). Pot A has dirt and a bean, pot B has dirt, a bean and water and pot C has a bean and water. What will happen to the seeds? Which will grow?

For our art activity, the children dotted with cotton swabs to imitate the look of dandelion seeds. Lucas felt it looked so real that he tried blowing his "seeds" off the paper.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Plants in out Midst #3 - Dandelion Jelly

"It 's a pretty flower," said one.
"But it is a weed!" said another.

What is a weed? Are weeds flowers? Water group children looked up the meaning of a weed and it says that a weed is a plant that grows where it is unwanted. It competes with other plants and the lawn for water and nutrients. However, people have different opinions about dandelions and there are many who love dandelions and do not consider them as weeds. The children were surprised to hear that some people use it in their cooking. Lucas said matter of factly: "Yes, I drink dandelion tea."  We searched on the internet for dandelion recipes and found that there were recipes for Batter Fried Dandelion Blossoms, Dandelion Green Salad, Dandelion Jelly and many more. The children were very curious as to what dandelion jelly is and what it would taste like. To find out we had to make it. The children rushed to the playground enthusiastically to pick the dandelions for our recipe. Even though it took a long time to  make the jelly, the children patiently waited for the jelly to set. When the jelly was ready the children couldn't wait to slurp the jelly into their mouths. They were amazed with how good the jelly tasted. It was worth all the wait!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Plants in our Midst #2: Parts of a Plant

A few days after our collage was finished, Allye noticed something different in the area that she worked on. There were dandelion seeds! The children put their brains together to try and solve this mystery. First, Allye remembered that she glued a closed flower and not dandelion seeds. The children started to ask many questions. How could that happen? Did the bud grow? Theo noticed that there is dirt where the dandelion seeds are and he said the dirt helped it grow. From our discussion, I decided to start talking about the parts of a plant and their jobs. The children got their shovels and buckets ready and we went outside to dig for some wild flowers. We kept in mind that we need the whole plant so that means we have to dig up the roots too. 

We brought the flowers back to school and identified the roots, stem, leaves and flower. When the children were familiar with each part, we dissected it. Below are their observations about a dandelion:

Alfie: There's no pollen.
Molly: The stem is really sticky.
Allye: Inside the root, it's white.
Theo: The root is very hard.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Plants in our Midst #1: Walk in the Forest

As one of our provocation activities for the children to our new unit of inquiry - Plants in our Midst, I took the Water group on a walk in the forest. As we walked, the children collected things from the trail that seemed interesting to them and many questions came up.

How can we tell when a fruit is ripe?
Alfie initiated the interest of eating the huckleberries; however, some children noticed that they were green and felt the berries are not edible when they are green. Then Alfie shared his knowledge with us by telling us when a fruit is green it means it isn't ripe and when it is red, it is ripe. When the fruit turns brown, it is rotten! We wonder if this applies to all fruit.

How do animals use plants and what are the animals living in Pacific Spirit Park?
We found an empty acorn on the path and wondered what happened to it. Theo thought maybe a squirrel ate it. Angela thought maybe it's a bug's home.

How do animals use plants to camouflage themselves in the forest?
As we were walking Molly heard some sounds and wondered what is making that sound. It sounded like a bird but what kind of bird is it and where is it?

Are weeds flowers? 
Allye noticed and showed the other children the different wild flowers in the forest. When Alfie saw the dandelions, he said: "Dandelions are not flowers, they are weeds." Some of the children asked what are weeds and some of them insisted that dandelions are flowers.

The children created a forest collage with the things they picked from the forest.

Building Together #8: Community Scenario

Molly the firefighter
Being a good audience
The police with the robbers
Nurse Angela and Doctor Allye
We ended our Building Together unit by putting on a community scenario for the other 3 groups. The Water group children worked together to create a scene in the community and decided on a problem that happened at the scene. They decided who in the community can help and how they solved the problem. They made a list of people involved in the scenario and the props/costumes needed for the people and places. The children were all great actors/actresses playing their role!