Thursday, April 21, 2016

Botany for Children


The kids and I explored the world of plants a couple weeks ago.  Botany is actually an ongoing science topic at our homeschool, especially with the arrival of spring and more opportunity for outdoor nature study, but I wanted to share some of the resources and activities we've already used...




Our plant unit started with some Mystery Science lessons (mysteryscience.com is free until June).  We learned about how seeds travel and made our own paper models of helicopter seeds (like the ones Maple trees produce).  Other topics we covered included how photosynthesis works, why trees are tall, what pollinators do, and how selection can be used to produce different types of apples.  A favorite activity was dissecting a flower and identifying its parts - stamen with pollen and the pistil with an ovary full of eggs.


The kids placed some beans into a Ziplock bag with a wet paper towel.  In a couple days, we observed that they had germinated.  A week later, roots had grown.  We conducted some experiments, rotating the orientation of the bag to watch that the roots always grew down.


The twins drew the bean plants at various stages.


The kids and I also read about plants in our encyclopedias and watched a fabulous three-part documentary (on Netflix) called How to Grow a Planet.  The first episode discussed how plants evolved (from green bacteria) and made the transition onto land.  The second episode explored the evolution of flowers.  The third episode focused on grasses.  I love that the twins (age 6.5) are getting old enough to watch and understand documentaries geared toward adults.  Even H (age 4.5) pays attention.


The kids discussed and drew about plants whenever they had a chance.  L made the drawing above about pollinators.


E made the diagram above completely on her own, as well as this venu flytrap.



Even our Lego Robotics (WeDo 2.0) project for the week was to make a bee that spins around until a motion sensor lets it know to stop above a flower.



For more learning and fun be sure to check out the LaLaLogic Critical Thinking Curriculum for Preschoolers which I developed.

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