October 24

Apple Study

Fall food is my favorite – apples, pumpkins, and butternut squash! North Georgia mountains are well known for their apple orchards and my family visits an orchard annually. Click here for an apple orchard field trip with my first-grade botanists.

There are numerous ways to integrate the study of apples with other subject areas. Click here for an oxidation experiment with apples.

Integrate math with science and weigh apples and other objects with a balance scale. Click here for directions.

Then explore the concept of balance using the story, Ten Apples up on Top. Place an apple on a child’s head and direct him or her to balance it as he or she walks across the room. How many apples can you balance on top of one another like the characters in the story? Ask your students to work in small groups or create a balancing apples center. Use this rhyming story to introduce or practice the concepts of more, less, and equal, as well as addends that equal 10.

Love this musical version! Click here for full screen.

Taste a variety of apples or a red, yellow, and green apple and create a tally, pictograph or bar graph of your students’ favorite apples.

Celebrate apples with an apple tasting party (apple butter, apple pie, apple sauce, apple cider, apple turnovers, and apple muffins). Make apple sauce or apple crisp.

Estimate how many seeds are in an apple, and then cut the apple to reveal the star inside. Cut several more and count the seeds. Do all apples have the same number of seeds? Does one variety of apples have more seeds than another? Be sure to use the correct terms to describe the parts of an apple – skin, core, seeds, stem, and flesh. Of course, apples can be used to introduce fractions.

There are many engaging apple stories! Use The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree to learn about the life cycle of an apple tree. Sequence the life cycle. Click here to watch full screen.

Click here for the Safeshare link for Bad Apple, A Tale of Friendship.

See the source image

Use the following song/fingerplay with your youngest scientists to introduce subtraction and the concept of less. Write a subtraction sentence each time an apple is taken away. Click here to watch full screen.

Apple TroubleĀ is an ideal story to identify story structure – characters, setting, problem (conflict), and resolution. Identify the steps the main character attempts to resolve the problem. Click here to watch full screen.

October 18

Acorns

Leaves aren’t the only things falling from the trees around my house. The oak trees are also dropping acorns. Not only are acorns the seeds of the oak tree, but they are also food for animals, such as deer, mice, wild boar, squirrels and opossums.

The hundreds of species of oak trees result in a variety of acorns. Just look at the diversity-color, shape, and size!

 

If you see small round holes in acorns, acorn weevils are present. In the fall, the fully grown acorn weevil larva chews a hole in the side of the nut and emerges.

This story illustrates the interdependence of living and nonliving things in creation. Also, a great lesson for cause and effect and sequencing. Click here to watch full screen.

Sing The Acorn Song with your students. Instead of clapping, make a clicking sound with your tongue. Click here for the tune.

I’m a little acorn brown,
Lying on the cold, cold, ground.
People always step on me,
That is why I’m cracked you see!
I’m a nut (clap, clap),
I’m a nut (clap, clap),
I’m a nut (clap), nut (clap), nut, (clap, clap).

I’ve been watching the acorns grow on oak trees around my home since spring. Just think, everything the tree needs to grow is inside the acorn! Acorns don’t appear on an oak tree until it is mature, usually around twenty years old.

Acorns change from green to brown and their caps (cupules) fall off.

Collect acorns and try to germinate them. Do a little research before you begin. Some acorns should be stored in the refrigerator first, while some species of acorns can be planted right away. Place the acorns in water. Floating acorns will not sprout and should be discarded and composted. Why?

Click here to view full screen.

The Golden Acorn is a humorous tale with lessons about teamwork and friendship.
Click here for full screen viewing.

Use this entertaining story to introduce character traits. Click here for full-screen viewing.

Another beautifully illustrated book:

See the source image

Click here to view full screen. Use this story to introduce journal writing.

Play “Where is the Acorn?” as you teach positional words. After giving each student an acorn, give them commands. Suggestions:
Put the acorn in your left hand.
Hold the acorn behind your back.
Place the acorn between your fingers.
Lay the acorn under the table.
Hold the acorn in front of your face.

Progress to multi-step directions.
Turn around, jump two times, and balance the acorn on your head.

Play the following game to develop self-control and observational skills:

Choose one student to be the squirrel. Other students (squirrels) sit around the selected student in a circle. The teacher places an acorn behind the squirrel while the squirrel’s eyes are closed and then points to a child to quietly take the acorn and hide it in the student’s lap. All students also pretend to be hiding the acorn in their laps. Children repeat, “Squirrel, squirrel, look and see. Someone took your acorn. Who could it be?” The squirrel is given three chances to guess who removed the acorn without leaving the center of the circle.

October 4

Grizzly Bears

When my husband and I were in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas, we were frequently reminded that encountering grizzly bears was a real possibility and warned not to hike without bear spray.

I saw two bears from a distance but was unable to photograph them. These photos were captured by my friends, Susan and Ted, who live in Montana.


Click here for full screen.

Felt as if I was on a bear hunt which reminded me of one of my favorite children ‘s books. This story is easily dramatized and it’s always fun to add sound effects using your body, common objects, or instruments. Use this book as an engaging way to teach positional words (under, over, and through) as well as descriptive words (long and wavy), and onomatopoeia (sound words). I have made a map of this story on a long sheet of bulletin board paper with prior classes to introduce map skills and to retell and sequence the events.

See the source image

Click here for the Safeshare link. (Slightly different version). Click here to watch full screen.

Click here for the Safeshare link. Click here to watch full screen.

Note: We were told to never run from a grizzly bear!

Click here to check out Fat Bear Week 2022. Click here to watch the bears live.

August 23

Bumblebees vs Honeybees

I recently posted about honeybees, but how do they differ from bumblebees? Although they are both insects with six legs and three body parts, there are many differences between the two species.

Honeybees are domesticated and produce honey, while bumblebees are always wild and produce a minimal amount of honey. The bumblebee body is large, round and furry while the honeybee is much thinner, and its four wings are distinct. Most bumblebee species prefer to make hives underground and the colony is smaller than the above ground hives of the honeybee. A bumblebee can sting multiple times, unlike a honeybee that can only sting once. Only the queen bumblebee will survive the winter, but the honeybee colony will remain intact through the winter months.

Look at those compound eyes! See previous post about insect eyes.

There are more species of bumblebees than honeybees, and of the two groups, they are the better pollinators. Using your knowledge of their bodies, why do you think this is true? Observe bumblebees at work.

Click here to view full screen.

In a past lab, we pretended to be pollinators. Sugar water (nectar) was in the cup and “pollen” rubbed off the Cheetos (stamens) onto our hands, like it does on a bee’s legs. The straw was our long tongue that we inserted inside the flower.

An informative book to add to your collection:

See the source image

What an ideal time to listen to the Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov. Click here to watch full screen. Use this as a movement activity and dramatize pollinating flowers with your young scientists.

August 3

Praying Mantis

I spied a praying mantis as I walked through my garden.

A praying mantis is a carnivore. The mantis will grab its prey with those front legs. Gardeners are a fan!

Do you know what is unique about the head of a praying mantis?

Click here for full screen and click here for the safeshare link.

While in my lab, I purchased praying mantis egg cases each spring. Click here to see what happened! The life cycle of a mantis is incomplete metamorphosis – egg, nymph, and adult. Click here to learn more about the life cycle.

I went into my garden the next day and discovered the mantis was green. They are masters of camouflage! Click here for more information about these fascinating creatures!

Let’s connect music with science. Click here for full screen and click here for the safeshare link.