Our first grade classes are begining their unit of inquiry on plants and animal, one of their lines of inquiry being animals and plants depend on each other for survival. I read Eric Carle’s book, The Tiny Seed and we focused on the IB concepts of connection and change. How were the plants (seeds) in the story connected to the animals and how did the seed change?
After reading the book to one class and the discussion that followed, I realized that our students did not have much experience with seeds. I went home and looked through all the seeds I have and brought some in for the students to look at.
Variety of Seeds and Magnifying Glasses
I brought in eight different types of flower seeds that I had on hand that showed a variety of shapes and sizes. I put a few on white sheets of papers with index cards as labels. They enjoyed using the magnifying glass and they made a number of observations about the seeds. They said one type looked like raisins, another like chocolate chips. An easy way to bring to the idea of seeds to life; well easy for me as I am a gardener and have lots of seeds on hand!
Nature and Sparking Curiosity
I like to bring in objects of all kinds and place them on the checkout desk in my library media center. I think it helps spark questions, inquiry and interest in students. It also gives students a chance to use scientific tools on a regular basis. I can also show that the library has books that can help them explore all types of subjects. Recently a co-worker found a bird’s nest in her yard and knew of my habit of bringing nature into the library, so she gave me the nest.
Bird’s nest display on circulation desk in library media center
I placed a couple of non-fiction books about birds’ nests and magnifying glasses around the nest. I will usually keep the display up for about 2 or 3 weeks, to give all of the students a chance to look at it. I’ve heard the most interesting comments and questions about the nest. One student asked another, “How do you think the bird knows how to build a nest?” Sounds like a simple question, but it’s actually a very complicated one. This type of display is one easy way to appeal to the naturalistic learning style of your students. Doesn’t cost anything and gives students an up-close view of nature they might not otherwise have. Heck, it might even be something that meets a Common Core standard!
Nature’s wonder at work!