This week Felicity the Fairy let us know that because we were so good at caring for living things in our classroom she wanted to bring us a little surprise...our very own tree. Felicity let us know that there was a new baby tree in our school yard that she wanted us to care for. She also brought a tiny tree to care for in our class. The Helper of the day will be in charge of watering our classroom tree and all of the students will be in charge of watering the tree outside daily during outdoor inquiry time. As the student examined our new gift outside their curiosity led them to develop new questions which helped to guide our inquiry. One student wanted to know why leaves changed colour in the fall. Another student wanted to know why the trees lose their leaves in the fall. We explored the theme of leaves changing colours in many kinethetic ways. During math time we followed a recipe and worked together to make leave themed playdough. We sorted the leaves by attributes as well.
To further explore this theme with our senses, the students had the opportunity to play with different coloured leaves, twigs and acorns in our sensory bin.
After we mixed red and yellow dye together in our playdough we discussed primary and secondary colours. Red and yellow are primary colours. They mix together to make orange which is a secondary colour. We further explored this theme during art and mathematics as we made calendars for October.
As we gathered leaves outside, students naturally wanted to sort them by attribute. We sorted them by colour, size and shape. When we had done this we looked at what a pattern is. After we sang a song about how a pattern is something that repeats the students started to make simple patterns during centres time.
The students read a lot of books on trees and their leaves. We also used a song about leaf pigments as our tidy-up song all week. They learned that leaves have a green pigment in them called chlorophyll. In the summer the tree uses the chlorophyll along with water and sunlight to make food for the plant. In the fall, deciduous trees stop making food and go to sleep. They stop making chlorophyll and other pigments hidden under the chlorophyll such as carotenoids (that give leaves their red and yellow pigments) can now be seen. We went on a walk to the principal's office and gave all the staff there a little lecture on the pigments in the leaves. We also gave them one of the fairy gardens so they could be reminded of the green pigment chlorophyll.
As a conclusion to our inquiry on leaves this week something magical happened in our classroom. We found that the lettuce stalk we put in the snail habitat sprouted again!!! What a wonderful way to end the week!