Sunday, March 21, 2010

Plants: Parts Of, Experiments, Puzzles, Collages & More

We've had a few Plant Presentations this past week and to my surprise both of them have been extremely interested. We went into this already having quite a good knowledge of plant parts, how plants 'feed' and the things plants do for us but I wanted to quickly revisit the topic, more for K's sake ( just to make sure she did know what I thought she knew, plus it never hurts for B to revisit topics) during these last 2 weeks of the term.

We began by inspecting a plant more closely, starting with what we saw above the ground, the stem and the leaves etc. We then talked about how the plant stays upright, what they need to grow, how they obtain 'food' and what we thought was below the soil.

We noticed that really you could barely see any roots at all when you first take the plant out of the pot (thankfully this little specimen was not root bound) but once we started to shake away the dirt from around the roots the whole root system became much more obvious and intricate.

It's really quite strange seeing a plant like this, without any dirt around it all and I know that once we delve deeper and look closer at the root system itself the kids will want to 'attack' this poor plant again. Don't worry we potted him back up and he is here on our shelf doing just fine, until the next time he is uprooted!

We completed the white flower in the coloured water experiment. Neither of the kids had seen this and I did not give anything away. Whilst they both told me that the flowers would 'drink' the water they were both very pleasantly surprised to see coloured flowers after only a couple of hours. (the colour really intensified overnight).

In case you have been living under a rock and have never seen this, all you need is some food colouring, water and white carnations or even celery will work. You do need plenty of colour, we used red, blue, green and yellow. It took a couple of days but all of our colours worked, the red and the blue were the most intense. We also kept one carnation in plain water to use as the control.

In hindsight I probably should have had them write up an experiment log, oh well, there's always next time.

K was given this Garden Girlz set some time ago and we've had it in the cupboard just waiting for us to do a plant study. I actually think she forgot all about it to be honest, but once I reminded her she was straight to work setting it up. There's been no growth so far though so it isn't looking good. We may have to leave it until spring and try some fresh seeds.

The Montessori puzzles are fabulous aren't they. It really helps to be able to isolate the parts with the puzzle pieces.

Most days I set the kids up with some kind of quiet activity whilst I go and put little C down for his nap. On this particular day I laid out a range of collage materials, along with some bunches of flowers I had picked up at the $2 shop and then pulled apart to make simple individual flowers.

The plan was that they would create their own 3D Flower Gardens. We talked about the layers of the garden beforehand and things we might see in the garden, but apart from that what they did with it was entirely up to them.

K's garden above is featured during a spring shower, with both blue and orange rain.

B on the other hand did this. This came as a complete surprise to me, he had chosen red pipe cleaners for the roots, some glitter for soil, green crepe paper for the grassy layer and then proceeded to build his flower. Although at this stage we had only discussed parts of a plant and not a flower he went ahead and labelled it anyway.

He was so engaged with this and I was so proud of him for taking a few simple lessons from earlier in the day and week and turning what was initially a pretty basic craft activity into an impressive piece of art depicting what he had learned.

Every time I feel like we might be missing something or that I worry if we are doing enough or if the Montessori approach is one that we can really implement he goes and does something like this. Reminding me that really it's ok, everything is ok and we are right where we need/want to be.

We spent some time working with these 3 part (with definitions) cards from here >>> These are great for both ages. B has started working on his own booklet and I am doing my best to not push it. I am just hoping that he will choose to finish the work off himself. If not it's no big deal, just because he hasn't produced something on paper doesn't mean he hasn't learned anything from it.

We also read lots of books too but I just realised I didn't take any pics. I will try and do that over the next couple of days and include them in the next post on our plant study.

Have you seen the Gardening/Plant story prompt cards that I have available for FREE download? Check out how we put them to use at this post. 

Come on over and join me at

Looking for more Plant related activities? Have a look at my Plant Life Pinterest Board.

Follow Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom's board Themes - Plant Life on Pinterest.


Heidi said...

I love what B did! Wow what a great example of a Montessori child-initiated extension!

Ticia said...

I'm having so much fun seeing all of the great plant experiments this week.

Anonymous said...

How cool! Learning about plants is so much fun - it is amazing to know how much work the plant does on its own with photosynthesis and all that nifty stuff.

Debbie said...

I am really getting Spring fever with all the plant experiments, flower making, and lovely pictures. I love the experiment with the carnations and colored water. I am definately going to try that one with Selena sometime!

The Homeschool Den said...

Fantastic lesson! I bet the kids enjoyed watching the flowers change colors. We did the same sort of things with celery a while back, but it never occurred to me to use carnations. That turned out so well!


Lisa @ Our Country Road said...

Thank you for such a great post! You included so many wonderful ideas. I will be using some of these in the future with my kids!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I am very impressed with B's work - he is such a talented kid. I realize now how horrible our biology classes were - I don't recall having any experiments except growing seeds. Those flowers changing color are so easy and spectacular at the same time.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful week! I love the idea of learning about a topic and incorporating all of the elements into the topic. You do such a great job planning it all :-)

Peggy Broadbent said...

What wonderful experiences your children had with so much knowledge attained about plants. Congratulations! How fortunate they are to have you for a teacher!

I'm retired now, but for many years in my combined first and second grade, we did some plant experiments with lima beans. Here is my blog about that:

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