At Morning Meeting today we were discussing the upcoming change in weather. For those of you not in our locale, it is 56 degrees here today with rain. Tonight, this will change drastically. We are expecting up to a tenth of an inch of ice this evening with 3-6 inches of snow tomorrow and a high of around 17. I posited the question, “Where does the ice come from?” (They weren’t too keen on my idea that the ice came from trays in the sky.)
When they decided that it came from the sky and the rain, I wondered where the rain came from. One of the children offered that it happened because of the water cycle. She then explained to us that the water cycle meant that the water on the ground evaporated, went up into the sky, made clouds, and then fell back to earth. We tried to find an explanation of “evaporate” and only came up with “you need to have something yellow, like the sun” to make it happen. Finally, another child explained that the sun made the water hot and turned it into vapor. The vapor then goes up to become the clouds and the water vapor parts bonk into each other and get heavier, making it rain. (I still think my idea that there is a big watering can sprinkling water on the Earth is more interesting.)
Then I began to wonder where the snow came from. It took a bit of thinking, but it was finally decided that when it is cold, the water “melts” and turns into ice which turns into snow. I foresee some experiments in our future.
Yesterday we experienced many firsts. Foremost was the weather. While we expected the rain in the afternoon, we were caught off guard by the on-again-off-again torrential downpour from 8:30 until around 10:30. Some of us had raincoats, most of us had boots, and none of us melted. All of us had fun regardless of the persistent precipitation.
In addition, our City Campus Pre-Kindergarten class came out to join us for Forest 4s. All together, we had 29 four and five year-olds exploring the wet and drippy woods. Before heading out, our North Hills Campus students made plans for introducing our new friends to the fort, squirrels, sticks, moss and snails.
The weather provided us with added observation opportunities. The extremely damp conditions encouraged previously hidden wildlife to cross our paths, sometimes quite literally.
This little creature, a Northern Spring Peeper, was spotted by one of the children as it climbed slowly up a tree. We had enough time for all of the interested children to stop by and marvel at it’s agile upward movement.
While hiking with Mr. Cooper, this lovely Eastern Box Turtle was spotted by one of our visiting Pre-K students. It was simply ambling along the trail.
(I personally thought this one was quite exciting. I haven’t seen a wild box turtle since I was little.)
A while ago, one of the students posed a curious question about what happens to the water after it rains. We discussed many possibilities, but eventually came to the conclusion that somehow it ended up in the clouds. One of the most creative methods for this molecular travel was via invisible pipes in the trees that carry the water from the ground to the sky.
This week, we read more information about where water goes and how it travels. The water cycle made sense, but it was still a bit confusing. Hmmm…maybe a little music can help?
This morning’s weather proved to be little finicky as it rained on and off for over an hour but that didn’t deter our youngest explorers. We prepared ourselves with boots and raincoats and then embarked on the great outdoors to enjoy the unseasonably warm day. It wasn’t long before a student noticed a small worm making his way up the side of boulder. We theorized about how he was able to hang on to the rock without any arms or legs. We studied how his body would shrink and then stretch as he so effortlessly moved across the rock once he reached the top. Then, before we knew it, there were two worms crawling across the rock. One student proclaimed that there were so many worms out because it was raining and worms love water. The students took turns gently touching the worm and then squealing with joy. It always amazes me what wonderment can be found on what might seem like a dreary day.
Sometimes it is the simplest things that brings joy to our lives. Watching a young child discover the properties of falling water fills me with joy. The wonder and inquiry that is involved is like no other. Somewhere along the way adults lose that wonder, until a child comes along and forces us to see the world through a fresh set of eyes.