Nature Exploration Week

Nature Exploration Week was a scientific adventure!  Read below to learn about all the scientific exploration that took place!

Monday morning began with a discussion about the different parts of a plant.  Looking at the following image, the children correctly identified the main parts as – flower, leaves, stem, and roots.

Once the parts had been identified, the teachers explained that roots would be the area of particular interest for the day!
For morning work, the children created their very own vegetable garden art project .  Seeing that they would be planting their own classroom garden later that day, the children learned all about the different ways that plants can grow – underground, above ground, on a stalk, from a flower, etc.  Here is the craft that the children created.
In the afternoon, the children were asked to explain how a plant grows.  Taking turns coming up to the dry-erase board, the students began by digging a hole in the ground and planting a seed and covering it back up with soil.

Once the hole was covered, the children informed the teachers that it was very important for the seed to have water and plenty of sunshine. Before their eyes, the drawing was changing as the little sprouts began to pop through the soil.  Here is the completed plant.

Once the image had been created, the teachers informed the children that they would not only be creating a garden – it would be a VERY special root viewing garden.  The three vegetables that would be grown would all be root vegetables and the special sloped garden would allow for the normally not seen parts to be seen!  Here are the three vegetables that will be growing at Park Prep.

Tuesday began with extremely exciting news!  The children would be conducting a multi-day science experiment all about plants!  The children identified that all plants need the following three things in order to grow:  nutrient-rich soil, sunshine and water.  The teachers then asked, “How do plants drink water?  Do they have water-bottles that they gulp, gulp, gulp to quench their thirst?”  The children laughed as they shook their heads to say no.  Hands flew into the air to answer the very interesting question.  The root talk from Monday surely had sunk in as the children correctly identified that the roots helped “drink up” the water that is in the soil.

To test this idea, the children spent the morning experimenting with celery.  To children were called over in small groups to observe celery stalks.  They noted that at the end of the celery were little “U’s with dots in them”.  Along the stalk, the celery had a lot of long lines.  The children recorded what they observed on their Science Experiment Observation Sheets.

The observation sheets were collected and tucked aside.  In order to see how a plant actually “drinks up” water, the teachers added some food coloring to a bucket of water while the children looked on.  The coloring was swirling around to make such pretty designs in the water!  The children thought that it looked like the food coloring was dancing in the water.

The children took turns stirring the coloring into the water and then placing their celery stalk into the bucket.

Once all the stalks were inside the bucket, the teachers asked what the children thought would happen to the stalks.  After spending two days drinking blue/purple/redish water, would they be green like they were or would they look different?  The group was split as to what would happen – stay the same/look different?  But what would they turn out like?  The children were so curious as they headed back to their morning stations, expressing their excitement for Thursday!

On Wednesday, the children had an opportunity to work at the classroom easel to paint a nature picture!

On Wednesday afternoon the students put on a Crazy Hat Day Train around the classroom!  Be sure to check out the video.

Thursday was the PPA Walking Field Trip to Goehrig’s Bakery!  The children and teachers trekked down Central Avenue and made their way towards the delicious neighborhood hotspot.  They could hardly contain their excitement as they entered!

The childrens’ eyes lit up as they looked at all of the delicious desserts the bakery sells.  They approached the counter with great anticipation as to what they would see and learn about.

Some of the bakers came out to greet the children and tell them about their unique and yummy job! The children “ate up” everything that the bakers had to say and show they – particularly their messy aprons! After learning about the different items the bakery sold, the children selected their favorite.  Here is their choice!

Although they were a little sad to leave the bakery, the children realized that leaving meant that they were closer to being able to eat the sweet treats they had purchased!
In the afternoon, the children revisited their celery experiment from Tuesday.  Having two days to drink up the colored water, the children could hardly believe what they saw!

The celery had colored stripes!  Here is the close up of how the celery looked on Thursday.

When asked how this happened, the children were not completely sure.  To help answer the question, the teachers brought out some straws and explained that like the celery, when a straw is held vertically it can look like has circles at the ends.  Also like a straw, when celery is held horizontally, it has long lines that run across it.  The tiny straws inside the celery are similar to the straws that we all use everyday to help us drink!  The children were so excited to actually see how much water the celery actually drank up in just two short days!

After they noted the difference in appearance, the children used crayons to document what they saw.

Here are their completed observation sheets.  After actually seeing that plants actually do “drink up” water, the children observed that the classroom garden planted on Monday had begun to sprout!

After all of the science experimentation had wrapped up, the children enjoyed some yummy treats from their morning field trip.  Needless to say, this was a highlight of the day!

Friday marked the last field trip of the summer and what better one to have then a trip to the New Jersey Childrens Museum in Paramus!

The children spent their day exploring the various areas of the museum.  Here are some photos from the prehistoric room, the Emergency Care Room, the music room, the science room, as well as the play kitchen room.  The children did such a great job “tidying up” it looked cleaner than it did before their play started!

The fire truck room proved to be not only fun but very important! Also in the fire truck room, the children practiced driving a car – well, a virtual one!  Watch below as one child goes off-roading in her vehicle!

Upon their return to school, the children noticed that their root garden had started sprouting elsewhere!  The radishes had grown taller and more roots were visible but now it appeared that the carrots and the onions were starting to sprout as well!  Enlarge the photo below to see the little roots popping through the soil!

The children were so excited when the teachers reminded them that more changes would take place with their garden over the weekend!

What a fun day!  What a fun week!  The students surely learned a lot about nature!

As always, thank you for reading.  We will see you next week!

-PPA