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.

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

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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.

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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?

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Corn on the Cob

Now that Applefest has wrapped up, we are finding lots of treasures left behind on the playground.  Yesterday morning, the children discovered a few dried corn cobs that had fallen off of the decoration stalks.  The cobs moved to the outdoor Maker Space where a makeshift factory was set up.  Small fingers patiently and diligently removed every kernel.P1270130P1270131P1270136

This activity continued in the afternoon.  Sadly, we discovered that our original corn collection had been accidentally misplaced by the older students.  (Chalk it up to practicing perseverance.)  No worries! We found more ears of corn to work with and many more classmates joined in on the project.  In addition to the kernel factory, an airplane was built nearby where corn kernels could be delivered via leaf plates for hungry passengers.

As we worked, a few of the children came up with a plan for the corn.  One child wanted to know if we could cook it.  Hmm….we’ll see how that experiment works a  bit later. (Don’t worry, we don’t plan to eat it.)

Let’s paint the ceiling!

Today in Art class, the students learned about the artist Michelangelo and his work. They read a story about his life and how he sculpted a number of very famous pieces that people travel all around the world to see. They also learned about when he painted the Sistine Chapel and how he had to paint laying down on scaffolding as he covered the entire ceiling with beautiful scenes from the heavens. It was great deal of hard work but the result was a masterpiece.

The pre-k got a chance to create some of their own masterpieces just like Michelangelo did so many years ago.

Forest Fours Journals

Today, we introduced the students to a new chapter of Forest Fours by implementing a writing component to our day. Each child received a special journal that travels with us while on the trails. The students are allowed to draw pictures of the games that they are playing, the structures they build, or the specimens they see while out in nature (fungus, birds, rocks, deer, etc.). They also are allowed to collect things like leaves or small pieces of moss and tape them into their journals for safe keeping.

In addition to the journals, we borrowed four Polaroid cameras from Mrs. Weber so that the students can take pictures of items that would be too big to fit in their journals. The pictures are then taped onto a page and the students write about what they observed. The journals will travel with us each time we venture into the woods and the children are allowed to fill their journals to their heart’s content whenever they deem it necessary.

Since it’s inception, our class has used Forest Four days to play in an unstructured setting so that they could explore and create at their will. The addition of the forest journals allows students to extend their learning by giving them the opportunity to write, even while outdoors. Through this activity, the students are practicing skills such as fine motor development, phonemic awareness, self-regulation, observation, categorization, identification, and much more. We look forward to sharing our journal entries with you in the future!

What’s Gonna Work? Teamwork!

This week, the students became interested in a plank of wood that had been used as a part of the circuit on the nature playground. Our students decided to repurpose it and make a bridge on the large rocks. We spent many sessions working out how it could be used safely and problem-solving how to make it more stable for the students to walk on. Today, when the students ran outside to play with the “bridge” they realized that it had been moved to the ground by some of the older students. They immediately started trying to move it, but it appeared to be too heavy/large for just two students to move by themselves, so they began to enlist the other students from different sections of the playground to help.

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When more people showed up to help, they positioned themselves around the plank of wood, lifted it up, and started swiftly moving around the rocks. Once they got near the rock that they wanted the bridge, they had to figure out how to  maneuver the plank without squashing anyone who happened to be on the other side. With some trail and error, a decent amount of determination, and a little bit of communication they had solved their problem! Not only did they get the bridge back into place, but they were able to stabilize their bridge so that students could safely walk across.

 

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See Saw Science

Some days we are delighted to find that the students latch onto an idea or hypothesis and just run with it. Today, we were lucky enough to have one of our parents volunteer to read a story called Just A Little Bit by Ann Tompert that involved an elephant and a see saw. The whole book, the elephant tries to play on the see saw, but it just won’t work. He’s too big. Many animals try to come to the rescue by piling on the other side of the see saw but nothing happens. Nothing seems to work until a beetle lands on the animal group and the elephant finally gets to pop up in the air on the other side.

We talked about how this book teaches us about science and that we’re all really scientists. We do science experiments every day without even realizing. When you tell a silly joke and your friend doesn’t laugh, that’s an experiment. When you try a new food that you’re sure is going be disgusting and it’s actually delicious, that’s an experiment. When you launch yourself off the couch and land on your brother, that’s an experiment. (Let’s be honest, some experiments are safer than others.) Sometimes the experiment works and sometimes it doesn’t. What is most important is to ask “why?”. Why didn’t it work? What went wrong? How can you fix it?

Once the story was over, the students jumped at the chance to build their own see saws with our outdoor blocks. Many of the students started on a smaller scale with just one block as the base, while other’s were determined to make their see saws higher. After lots of tinkering and testing, it was decided that the higher see saws were not quite as safe and so we down-graded the amount of blocks that were being used. Some children added the colorful blocks to act as handles, while others used them as a weight so that they could try to see saw by themselves. Even Mrs. Forst joined in on the see saw fun!

There’s nothing better than a recess full of problem solving and physics.

 

The Nature Hair Salon

Taking appointments at your convenience!

Climb Aboard!

Our new playground is open! The children in each grade level are helping us experiment with the equipment as we discover its “climb-ability.”

 

The Food Mystery

In honor of our Pre-K Movie Premiere that will take place later tonight, we would like to present our final draft of our script entitled The Food Mystery. We actually had a total of 8 drafts but after the first three or four writing sessions it was pretty obvious that the story stayed exactly the same and only their characters changed. You’ll notice that in this version, there are not any copyrighted characters such as Iron Man or Cinderella. We explained to the students that it is important to come up with our own ideas and characters because otherwise, we are just stealing someone else’s idea. With some coaxing, and lots of trying out different ideas, we ended up with some pretty amazing characters.

Enjoy!

 

The Food Mystery

(March 11, 2016)
L.W. – a giant named Boxy
Z.W. – fisherman
A.H. – Policeman named John
C.S. – a princess
R.F. – a floating cloud
K.H. – a giant mouth that can walk
A.G. – a parrot
K.V. – a horse
M.H. – a building robot
S.S. – a witch
N.P. – spell Witch

House 1

(L.W.,  Z.W., A.G., and K.H.)
Once upon a time a giant named Boxy wanted to play a game so he invited a fisherman to come and play, “Fisherman, let’s go play some crazy games,”, and the fisherman invited a parrot, “Parrot come play,” and the parrot says, “Squawk, squawk,”.
They played the game for a long time and then they decided to stop for a snack.
The parrot says, “Let’s stop and eat some French fries and water, Squawk.”
Just then a giant mouth sneaks in and whispers to herself, “Ooh, those french fries sure do look yummy. Maybe I’ll just have a few,” and then eats a bunch of their food and then runs before anyone can see her.

They turn around and shout, “Where’s our food!?!”
The Boxy says, “Where are our french fries and water?”
The fisherman says, “I’m hungry!”
The Parrot says, “Squawk, The only thing that is left is a potato, squawk.”
They try to share the potato but it’s not very big.
The giant says, “I need more food, I’m still hungry.”

House 2

(M.H., A.H., S.S., C.S., and K.H.)
In the next house a princess, a robot, a police officer, and a witch all live together.
Everyone was having a dance party.
The princess says, “Let’s stop and have some pancakes and cupcakes.”
But before they could sit down and eat, the giant mouth, sneaks in and says, “Those cupcakes and pancakes look pretty good! Maybe I’ll just have a few!” but she accidentally eats all of the food and so she runs away before anyone could see her.
The witch says, “What!?! There’s no food!”
The robot says, “It’s a mystery! Who took our food?”
Then the robot walks out of the house and starts looking to see if he can solve the mystery. He looks outside and notices that there is a trail of crumbs on the ground. He runs back inside and is breathing hard and he says, “There are pancake crumbs outside. Let’s get our magnifying glasses!”
So they all run and get their magnifying glasses.

Just then, the phone rings. The princess answers it.
Princess: “Hello.”
Fisherman: “Hey somebody ate our food!”
Princess: “Somebody ate our food too! We found a trail of crumbs. Want to come search with us?”
Fisherman: “Sure!”
Princess: “I don’t know where it leads to, but let’s go.”

House 3

(N.P., K.H., K.V., and R.F.)
The spell witch lives by herself with her horse Majesty and her magical flouting cloud. All the sudden, Majesty sees a giant mouth trying to steal her food and she says, “Neigh, neigh!” and then spell witch and cloud see the mouth too.

The flouting cloud rushes to the spell witch and says, “Use your wand to get the giant mouth!”
The Spell Witch uses her magic wand and says, “Come here!” to make the mouth come closer. The mouth tries to run away but the spell witch locks up her house and she says, “Bibbidy bobbidi boo!” so she can’t leave. Then she says, “Lock up the food now, wand and stay forever, giant mouth!” to make the mouth want to stay in her house forever.

Just then, group of friends follow the trail of crumb and it leads right to the Spell Witch’s house.
The robot says, “One of you ate our food. Who was it?”
The spell witch says, “It was this giant mouth and she tried to eat my food too!”
The regular witch says, “AHA! I solved the mystery, it was the mouth that ate our food!”
Police officer John says, “That wasn’t nice. Please don’t eat our food again!”
The giant mouth says, “Ok, I’m sorry. I just didn’t have any food.”
The spell witch uses her magic wand to make a new house with a refrigerator for the mouth to live in.
Policeman John says, “Let’s all have a dance party!”

And they lived happily ever after.
The End.

Deconstruction

So, if we are going to be building all of these flying machines, where can we find the materials the children will require?

No worries!

We’ll just find the parts laying around!

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I knew this would come in handy!

 

(dissassembling that broken audio cassette player we mentioned earlier this spring)