We have been learning about Antarctica for the past few weeks and have enjoyed interacting with ice! Ice is a big part of this amazing continent.
We wanted to make ice sculptures and our recent low temperatures helped!
The child chooses two containers prepared with ice and takes them to the art table.
He takes them out of the containers and then sprinkles kosher salt on one.
The second one is placed on top. The salt helps melt the ice and the two pieces stick together.
The child can spray water on top to make it shiny and change the shape a bit.
Mittens are used to carry the ice outside to refreeze.
Here they are glimmering in the sun.
On the playground, the ice can be used to create a sculpture.
Also, when learning about Antarctica, we like to have fun with small plastic animals that live in the region.
The children can interact with ice and the animals. Some animals live in the water only and some go on land and water.
Ice and cold can be fun!
We start out our study of vertebrates looking at the difference between those with backbones and those without.
The children can feel their backbone and see that they are a vertebrate.
We had an example of a very large vertebrae from a whale!
The children liked to feel how heavy the whale vertebrae was.
We have a fish in our classroom that lives with us so the children can experience it everyday.
We take care of our fish by feeding it and cleaning out the tank.
We also enjoyed making fish prints with this fish mold.
First paint the fish with watercolor or tempra paint.
Put the paper on and push down. This absorbs the paint and when peeled back, looks like a fish print!
A child also drew a picture of a fish.
Another vertebrate we have studied has been birds! We had a special owl come and visit from the Leslie Science Center one day.
We talked about some of the parts of an owl.
We did an experiment to see if we could hear a whole owl wing flapping vs. one bird feather.
It was determined that the owl wings were silent to us!
Owl wings are quite soft too!
We were very gentle!
The guide took the owl out of the travel box!
Some children correctly guessed that this is a screech owl!.
Thank you to Leslie Science Center!
Boris the Tortoise came to visit us again this year.
He belongs to one of our children’s families.
We learned about Boris and what he likes to eat.
He moves quickly which was surprising to some!
We had many questions such as:
What does he eat?
Why does he pee on the floor?
Why does he have a band aid on his neck?
We learned that Boris is from Asia and lives on land (grasslands).
He can hold his breath in the water.
Boris likes to burrow and is vegan but can eat insects.
Lettuce, raspberries, blueberries and carrots are his favorites.
He can hibernate at 45 degrees and sleep for 6-7 months but he never has.
Thank you so much to Peter and Melissa!!
The children were also exposed to reptiles by looking at a fake snake and then examining a real snake skin.
We didn’t have a special amphibian visit our classroom this year but we have two who are our pets. The children help to take care of and feed two dwarf water frogs.
We like to have a mammal live in our classroom so the children can help to take care of it. We have had a hamster for the last few years and the children like to observe and feed him. Sadly our most recent hamster passed away about two weeks ago. He lived a long hamster life of two years and we had a special meeting to discuss what happened. This gave the children the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their feelings. Many children made pages for a memory book about the hamster.
We also had a guinea pig visit the classroom for a day.
The children really enjoyed petting it and feeling it’s soft fur.
They learned that mammals give milk to their babies that are born live and have hair or fur.
They also enjoyed watching the guinea pig eat lettuce.
Classification of vertebrates
After the children learn about the five types of vertebrates, they spend time classifying the different types. We do this with help from small plastic animals and a pictorial representation of each class. They think about the characteristics of the vertebrates and place them under the photo.
We also have a visit from the Critter Guy to wrap it all up. He brings at least one example from each category except a fish.
Paul (aka “the critter guy”) brought two examples of amphibians.
First was the tree frog.
The second amphibian we had not experienced before. This one was a salamander. It lives in Mexico City and lives in lakes. These types of salamanders do not lose their gills to develop internal lungs.
Paul brought two types of mammals.
First up was a nice mouse.
Next was a super soft chinchilla!
The reptiles were a Tegu lizard from the rainforest and a King snake.
And the Doves returned. This time Paul brought an egg as well.
We really enjoyed our visit from various vertebrates. It is so fun to learn about the five types by having hands on experiences.
The children have been learning about leaves. It is a great time to learn as they are falling from the trees and are so beautiful!
In our classroom, as with many traditional Montessori classrooms, we have the botany (leaf) cabinet. This is a cabinet that holds three drawers of leaf shaped inserts. Many of the children enjoyed watching this lesson.
They heard the names of many of the leaf shapes. (We have to review these ourselves each year!)
They then matched up real leave to the pieces found in the cabinet.
We like to have leaf matching on the shelves. Here the children match a real leaf and one from picture cards.
Some of the children drew the other half of a leaf attached to paper.
Leaf dissection is always fun! Here we take a leaf and cut away the parts to show the children the various parts of a leaf.
Some of the children liked to complete a leaf rubbing work. Here they place a leaf or two under a piece of paper.
Using a sideways crayon, they rub and the leaves begin to appear. The children are able to see the veins in the leaf and feel the bumpy paper.
Finally, in afternoon art, the children experiment with materials found outside. This was inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy.
A little more on him here: http://visualmelt.com/Andy-Goldsworthy
To see more about our Goldsworthy-inspired project, go to our Facebook page to see a slideshow of the creations.
The children were able to learn about magnets last week. We had several activities on the shelves for children to explore.
In this activity, we have a collection of objects. Some are magnetic and some are not.
The children experiment with the magnet and begin to realize characteristics of objects that may stick to the magnetic.
We try to change the objects each day so the children have more to explore.
They quickly learn how to categorize objects, even if they are not reading.
This is another activity that children can explore. We talk about how repelling and attracting.
Some of the Kindergarten children made a book about things in the classroom that are magnetic. This helps them develop their writing skills while experimenting.
The above is a clip from a child playing with a car and a magnet.
It is the time of the year to study apples!
We began the week with small groups demonstrating an apple dissection.
The children hear the names of the different parts of the apple and place the real piece on the black card.
Once they have had a lesson, they may take this work out and match the parts whenever they choose.
This three year old decided to paint an apple on the art table. In the first photo he had remembered the leaf on the apple that he saw.
Later, when he returned back to do it again, he drew the “blossom end” as seen on the bottom in the second photo.
The Kindergartner/afternoon group took a field trip to Wasem Fruit Farm. http://www.wasemfruitfarm.com/tours.html
Here they learned about a few varieties of apples, took a tour through the apple washing and storing process, had a snack of cider and donuts and then picked their own apples. This is a wonderful way to get the children to experience how food grows and where it comes from.
We then made a fun activity of washing the apples. Many children watched the multistep lesson on how to wash an apple and wanted to try it for themselves!
After you put on an apron (and have someone tie it in the back), you place out all of the items and fill up the water pitcher.
Pour the water into the washing bowl.
Place an apple in the bowl.
Place in colander.
After this the child walks through the classroom with a clean and sparkly apple and places it in a bowl.
Most children are very attracted to this activity and want to repeat it over and over.
We will use these clean apples to cut and make into applesauce next week.
Another art work was apple printing.
Here the child paints on side of an apple and pushes it on the paper to create prints of apples.
At the end of the week, we had an apple tasting. Dr. Montessori stressed the importance of sensorial education at this age.
Here, we educate the sense of taste.
We looked at six different types of apples:
red delicious (picked at the apple orchard)
We looked at the differences and similarities in the exocarp, mesocarp and the endocarp. (Some of the children remembered these names from the apple dissection lesson.)
Tasting them and deciding the favorite was the best part for many! We look forward to our applesauce next week!
The afternoon children had fun thinking about solids, liquids and gases this week.
First, we poured a liquid (apple cider) into popsicle molds. These turned into a (YUMMY) solid once frozen.
We compared ice to dry ice by placing ice cubes in a plastic bowl.
We then observed what happened when warm water was poured over them. (They turned into a liquid).
Only the teacher touched the dry ice with tongs. It was very cold (-100 degrees F which can harm the skin). The metal tongs made a strange sound when they touched the dry ice.
The children carefully took turns touching the vapor made by the dry ice and the warm water. The water droplets attach to the dry ice gas and form tiny droplets. It was fun to fan the vapor.
In the spring we like to learn about butterflies. We learn about symmetry and metamorphosis. The children enjoy watching these guys change!
We receive a shipment of caterpillars. We spend a few days watching them eat, poop and grow!
After a while they attach to the paper at the top of the jar.
They form into chrysalides and we transfer them into their habitat.
In the meantime, we provide a plastic toy model of the butterfly life cycle. This is one the children can touch and order in the stages of development.
We also have an art project. Butterfly painting.
We paint one side of the paper.
Then fold over.
If the paint has not already dried a bit… there will be a symmetrical butterfly.
And we wait….
and voila! In a second, the butterfly emerges! Usually you can tell which one will hatch next as the chrysalis becomes very dark.
We feed the butterflies sugar water for a day and make sure their wings are dried out and ready to be set free.
We bring the habitat outside and open the top. Usually the butterflies need a bit of help getting out.
They fly around for a bit before leaving us for good. This is especially thrilling for the children.
And one three year old was so inspired, he made his own butterfly out of blocks!
The children have been learning about mixing colors, the color wheel and rainbows.
We have also been having fun mixing colors!
We use the three primary colors. The board shows the children to what colors to drop on each circle.
The children squeeze the droplets of colored water. Some children need a lesson on how to use the eye dropper or pipette.
After all of the droplets are on the circles, the child uses a toothpick and mixes the colors.
This allows the child to see how these colors combine to create different colors and shades of colors.
Next, the child places a paper towel on top of the colors.
The towel absorbs the colors.
Sometimes the child pushes down the towel to be sure the colors show up.
Pick up and you have a color wheel!
The children also wanted to make a large rainbow for the classroom.
They cut out various shades of different colors from magazine photos.
The children spent time gluing the pieces to a large poster board.
The children have been learning about various flowers we are seeing out and about in our environment.
Since we have seen many tulips, we decided to have some tulip art!
The children use a foam core board and color in the stem.
They place their petals on the board to fill in the tulip.
Liquid starch is used to paste down the tissue paper petals.
The children put these on the drying rack after they are finished so they can dry.
For Earth day this year, we decided to make paper with the children.
We first create a “slurry” which is chopped up paper in water. The slurry is made in a special blender we have set aside for this project.
We then set up the work. This is not an independent work for younger children.
It also has MANY steps!
We have two tin cans, one that have no top or bottom and the other has no top but does have a bottom.
Once it is set up with mesh in the middle, we pour in the slurry.
The excess water drips down and we empty out that can.
We listen for drips.
We take off the top tin can and empty out the bottom.
There is still a lot of water that need to come out.
We place another piece of mesh on the paper and push down to absorb the water.
Once we squeeze the water out a few times we take off the mesh.
We let the paper dry out and then we have recycled paper!
We decided to have another experiment to look at what items would be better for the Earth in shipping!
Biodegradable packing peanuts made from corn and Styrofoam packing peanuts were used.
The one made from corn dissolved!
The Styrofoam peanut did not dissolve.
All the children decided it would be better to use the item made from corn.