Corn Experiment #1

One of the children asked us many times if we might try cooking the corn.  We asked them how we should cook it.  After a bit of thinking, they decided that their mom makes corn in the oven.  We weren’t sure where this experiment might lead, but we thought it was certainly an interesting prospect.


The temperature and baking time were suggested by the experimenting student.


These cooked quietly in the science lab while we finished our choice time in the classroom.  The children helped us set a timer so we wouldn’t forget to pull them out of the oven.  Two students watched the timer carefully for the last 9 minutes.


When Miss. Davis brought them in, the pan was still hot.  We noticed they didn’t look too different.  We did, however, decide that we should keep them separate from the other corn so we could compare them.  One child suggested making a label and another wrote it out for us.P1270188

Once we looked a bit closer, we could see some differences between the cooked and uncooked corn.  What do you notice?


The Animal Restaurant

With each new year, and new group of students, I’m always so fascinated to see what types of games the students create with one another. Sometimes it’s a classic game of tag or “cops and robbers” but more often it’s a game that they created from their own imaginations. This year, many of the students were interested in collecting seeds from around the nature playground. When asked why they were collecting the seeds, they responded that they were for the animals to eat at the animal restaurant.

Since that day, the children have been working diligently to create different confections for the animals to eat. Some children helped by gathering a variety of natural materials for the kitchen such as rain water, grass, sand from smashed rocks, wood chips, acorns, pine needles, dirt, rocks, and what they had decided are lemons (but are actually walnuts). Once the materials were gathered, they students took turns adding them to the concoction they were working on at the moment. Some days it has been a cake, other days it has been a stew or a salad.

As other children have been inspired to join in the fun, new animal kitchens have popped up around the nature playground as well. A new animal restaurant was created yesterday in what we refer to as the”mud kitchen”, except that this restaurant has a twist. The animals that eat the food from the mud kitchen gain special powers like rainbow powers and storm cloud powers. Animals that wish to dine in this restaurant can use their special power to ward off bad guys that they may encounter in the woods.


We are very excited to see where this game will take us in the following days or even weeks. Tomorrow we will be working on making signs for the restaurants. We will continue to observe the children working in their animal restaurants and hopefully we can find a way to turn this wonderfully imaginative play into a full-blown unit of study. We will keep you posted as the play progresses!

Mystery Baking!

There are very few things in the world that are as wonderful as when learning and eating come together as one! Yesterday, our students spent the morning scooping, measuring, mixing, and little bit of tasting. What they were making was a mystery! The recipe consisted of very simple ingredients including flour, butter, salt, sugar, yeast, milk, egg yolk, and cocoa powder. The students excitedly shouted out hypotheses as they observed the changing mixture. These were some of their ideas:

  • cookies
  • oatmeal cookies
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • cake
  • play dough
  • a pillow
  • ice cream
  • eggs
  • bamboo
  • baby panda cookie
  • pizza
  • cupcakes
  • pretzels


Once all of the ingredients were added and mixed, we had a dough-like consistency. We then divided the dough into three pieces, adding a cocoa mixture to one, green food coloring to another, and leaving the last one plain. The dough was placed in bowls, covered, and left to rise. In an hour, the dough had doubled and was ready for shaping. We followed the directions; rolling and stretching the dough into a specific shapes and configurations until it was ready for the pan. The mystery loaf took one more hour to rise and then was then placed in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

After much anticipation, the mystery dough was baked and ready for the big reveal! Once out of the pan, the delicious smell wafted through the classroom. It was pretty obvious that we had made some sort of bread but we still weren’t sure what kind. The students erupted into a drum roll as we sliced into our mystery pastry and discovered we had made…PANDA BREAD! Although his faced turned out a little squished, it tasted just as yummy!

If you would like to make panda bread too, the recipe and directions can be found here!



We all scream for ice cream!

The day had finally arrived! Friday was the day we would get to make ice cream from scratch!

All the students gathered in a circle and glanced over the ingredients in front of them. At first, the students weren’t quite sure what we would be making. Someone guessed meatballs, but after looking over the ingredients again, we decided it would be pretty difficult to make meatballs with half & half, sugar, and vanilla. Another student guessed that we were making a cake, which was obviously a little closer, but not quite what we were looking for. Then, one child remembered that we had been discussing ice cream and it clicked! The classroom erupted with excitement!

Their very next concern was if they would be permitted to eat the ice cream that same day. When they learned the answer was yes, another wave of excitement hit the students. First we needed to figure out how much of each ingredient to put in the bowl. One student suggested we look in our cookbook and find the recipe. Before we knew it, we had our ice cream mixture ready to go. The only problem was that it didn’t look very much like ice cream at all. In fact, it just looked like milk with a little brown swirl. In order to make the ice cream, we had to put ice and salt in the other side of our ice cream maker. Then we closed up both sides tightly and began to roll!

After about 15 minutes of heavy duty rolling, the students grew tired and elected to eat the ice cream (or milkshake) a bit early. Despite it’s liquid state, it still managed to get two thumbs up from the students and teachers!


The Treasure Hunt

“Let’s have a treasure hunt!” whispered one of our students on the first day back after break.  It took us 24 hours, but we pulled one together.  Since we’ve been reading versions of The Gingerbread Man, we did the obvious thing and made cookies.  As you can tell from the slideshow below, our cookies jumped out of the oven and ran away before we could retrieve them.  Luckily, they left us clues pertaining to their location.


The two slides at the end depict a couple of story maps created by the students to retell our adventure.  Earlier in the morning, we made a story map to help us recall the original tale (with the addition of a random unicorn).  By using a “road” or line to lead the reader and author along a path of events, our memories quickly pick up the flow of the story.