Scientists classify fruit as the part of the plant that protects seeds. Yes, that means a tomato is a fruit! Click here to learn the difference between fruits and vegetables.
My kindergarten scientists have studied sink and float concepts periodically since October. This time, we used what we knew about density to hypothesize which fruits would sink and which would float. We learned a lot because our results didn’t always match our hypotheses. We weighed the fruit first, but density and weight are not the same. We recalled what happened last October when we placed a jack-o-lantern pumpkin and a candy pumpkin in the water table. Our original thinking was turned upside down when the big, heavy pumpkin floated and the small, light, candy pumpkin sank. Although the apple and the pear were equal weight, one sank and the other floated. The kiwi was lighter than both, but it sank too. The grape, which was the lightest fruit we tested, sank. The orange floated, but when unpeeled sank. Hmmm…
Extend this activity at home. Select fruit at the grocery store and weigh them on the scale. How are the fruit alike and different? Research to discover the kind of tree or plant on which they grow and where those plants are found. Cut the fruit open and find the seeds. How are they arranged? How many are there? Taste the fruit and plant some of the seeds.
We still had time to travel to the Arctic to see the Northern Lights.We used flashlights to shine light on a CD and a DVD to refract the white light and reveal the colors hidden inside. Click here to learn more about Aurora Borealis.
Kindergarten scientists learned that every snowflake is unique and has six sections. We used pattern blocks (one of my favorite math tools) to create snowflakes. There are six pattern block shapes – square, triangle, trapezoid, rhombus, parallelogram, and hexagon. Each of us began with a hexagon which has six sides, like a snowflake. Some of us discovered that two trapezoids form a hexagon.
After I retold The Three Little Pigs, I suggested that the pigs still had a problem. They need to find a way to watch for the wolf in case he returns.
Engineers design and build things to solve problems. I explained that I thought a watchtower might be a solution to their problem, and then showed them various examples of watchtowers and how they are or were used to see long distances by forest rangers, sailors, kings, and lifeguards.
Then I tasked my kindergarten engineers with building a watchtower for the pigs using Styrofoam, toothpicks, and a 3×5 card for the platform. We used the Engineer Design Process and I witnessed many examples of problem solving and the growth mindset. (The students did not watch these videos.) Each engineer was given a ruler that they used in a meaningful way to measure their towers.
My first plan wasn’t successful, so I need to try again! Fail forward.
My first plan was successful, but I think I can make it taller:
The tallest tower of the day! Notice that her toothpicks are not showing.
Other engineers at work:
I briefly explained at the beginning of lab that Styrofoam is a man-made material that is not good for our world, so I always look for ways to reuse it.
First grade scientists learned that snow is a form of precipitation. Snowflakes have six sides, consist of ice crystals, and each one is unique. We collaborated in small groups to cut giant snowflakes from circles that were folded in sixths. This was a fun way to apply shape and fraction concepts.
“Snowflake Bentley” (1865-1931) was fascinated by snowflakes and in his quest to share their beauty discovered a way to photograph snowflakes in the early 1900s. Click here to see Snowflake Bentley’s photographs.
Make your own snowflake: Click here.
Snowflakes are beautiful, pure, and white,
And like God’s children,
No two are alike!
I brought three materials that we have in the makerspace for my second and third grade engineers to experiment with in centers. I witnessed collaboration, creativity, perseverance, and critical thinking as they built.
Click here for more information about Keva Planks.
Click here for Strawbees.
Click here for Newspaper Builders.
Second grade botanists began their study of plants with a focus on leaves. We looked at leaves that were a variety of sizes, shapes, patterns, textures, and colors. Wow, our God values creativity and diversity!
Leaves, as well as many other things in nature, can be divided equally through a line of symmetry. We explored symmetry with mirrors. We drew pictures on one side of a line, and then placed a mirror on the line of symmetry to see the other side. Today we had science with a touch of math and a dab of art!
Several classes visited the Makerspace classroom for the first time. A makerspace area is a place where students can design, build, create, explore, fail, problem solve, and dream. During this visit, my engineers checked out some of the construction materials. They loved the chairs and additional new furniture (tables, cabinets, workbench, dry erase table with additional chairs) will be coming soon thanks to Mr. Burchfield. They can’t wait to come back!