Monday, March 7, 2016

Plants and Living Things {plus freebies!}

Spring is just around the corner! With the sunshine and warmer weather, it makes it the perfect time of year to begin a study on plants and living things.

To gain some background knowledge, I always start off by creating some sort of anchor chart or schema chart of all the things we think we know about plants. It's always interesting to see what the students come up with. A lot of times, they surprise me with how much they know!

After creating our schema chart, I always tell my students that they are going to become scientists so that we can find out everything we want to know about plants and living things! I talk about all the things that good scientists have to do with this little anchor chart, which you can download for FREE by clicking on the photo below!

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The perfect way to implement all three of these things is to have students create a journal. They can use this to draw and write observations, record facts, and more! The first thing we do at the beginning of the unit is practice making observations. We go outside for a walk and draw a picture of EVERYTHING we can observe. 

I remind them to include details about everything they can see. Then, we come back inside and share our observations with a partner!

The next day, we learned about the difference between living and nonliving things. We used some real pictures of objects and sorted them between living and non-living. I got the pictures here for free from the blog Chalk Talk! 

I made up our own little version of the picture sort for students to work on independently. You can download it for free by clicking the picture below!

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We then went on another observation walk outside and recorded our observations of all the living and non-living things we saw.

Once we had a little background knowledge on living things, it was time to observe and inspect the seeds we would be planting. I gave each student a magnifying glass and we observed our seed using our five senses in our plant journals. They had SO much fun looking at the seed up close!

Now we are ready to plant our seeds! I called kids up 4-5 at a time and let them pour soil in a cup, observe and feel the soil, and plant their seed in the middle.

Once we planted seeds, it was time to find out what plants need to thrive and grow! We watched one of my favorite songs about the Needs of a Plant from Harry Kindergarten:

And then we used our plants and living things journals to record our learning!

We planted our seeds, watered them, and then put them outside everyday to get some sunshine! I just used a big paper box lid to put all of our plant cups in to make it easier to carry it in and out of the classroom. As they started to grow, we learned about and labeled all the parts of a plant in our journals next!

Day by day, we checked in on our plants and used the observation pages of our journals to record what our plants looked like every couple of days!

You can print as many of the observation journal pages as you need for however many days you plan on letting the kids observe their plants before taking them home.

Once the plants grew enough to see the stem and leaves pop out, I let my students take their plants home! They were so excited! I had more than one student tell me that they went home and planted their flowers in their yard at home.

You can find all of these activities and more (including plant vocabulary cards) in my Plants and Living Things Observation Journal in my TPT store. Just click on the picture below and it will take you right there!

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