In my recent FPEA workshop, I was speaking to parents about science little learners love. In the course of our time together, I mentioned the amazing wonders we had flourishing on the front porch, most of for which I cannot take any credit. The marvels were the treasures of my children, their purchases, their discoveries, their experiments. Indeed, my learners have gathered quite a menagerie and it is fun to watch them take responsibility for their projects.
I told attendees I give them a sneak peek of our porch projects when we returned home.
These are the science wonders little learners love!
Rooting project. A friend blessed my budding gardener with some clippings from her favorite plants. My daughter listened as my friend explained how she rooted her plants and how some of the plants went to seed. Clippings in hand, my learner dreamed of the garden which might spring forth from the cuttings. Expectation was rooted in intrinsic interest. Since that day, my daughter has cared for the plants, watering them every day, each day growing fonder of her project. Today we have good sized plants which are transplant ready.
Our favorite planting books:
The Carrot Seed, Ruth Krauss
Tops and Bottoms, Janet Stevens
Grasshoppers. Likely you can't see them in this picture, but I promise they're there. Big eastern lubber grasshoppers, romalea microptera, find their path to our porch. Their appearance prompted curiosity and independent research. Those grasshoppers, as destructive as they can be, are incredible creatures. When we found a dead grasshopper, we placed it on the stage of our Magiscope to take a closer look. Fascinating!
Our favorite insect and wiggly wonders books:
Are You A Grasshopper?, Judy Allen
Ant Cities, Arthur Dorros
The Ant and the Grasshopper, Amy Lowry Poole
Flowers. The day before we left for the FPEA convention we made a clever discovery at a local garden shop--$1.00 plants! We purchased a few plants to bring beauty to our booth and now those plants have found a home on the porch until they are transplanted. In the meantime, these flowers attract butterflies and learners notice differences in petals and leaves. In addition, each day an eager little learner heads out to the porch with a spray bottle to water the flowers. Another means by which to foster responsibility.
Our favorite books about blooms:
The Tiny Seed, Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow, Lois Ehlert
Sprouts. Several weeks before convention my little learners were on a "grow everything you can" frenzy. We grew beans in a baggie and beans and marigolds on peat pods. A few days later, an older learner researched how to harvest snap dragon seeds which she eventually harvested from a plant she had purchased on a clearance rack. Those seeds sprouted, too! Our porch began to be a haven of color, beckoning learners to stop every time they passed in or out the front door.
Our favorite books about sprouting wonders:
From Seed to Plant, Gail Gibbons
How a Seed Grows, Helene J. Jordan
Stems and Roots, David M. Schwartz
Tadpoles. Friends--bless them--gave us a container FULL of tadpoles! What an amazing wonder! Our littlest learner sat and watched and watched, marveling. Our tadpoles are still young--no legs yet--but every day we observe, hoping to see some soon! I know this will launch questions and even more discovery!
Our favorite frog books:
Frogs, Gail Gibbons
Frogs and Polliwogs, Dorothy Childs Hogner (pictured below)
From Tadpole to Frog, Wendy Pfeffer
Other things we have had on the porch in the past:
Rocks. Children love rocks, especially ones they find on their own (digging them out is a bonus, too)!
Our favorite reads about rocks:
Pocket Genius: Rocks and Minerals, DK
Shells. Summertime trips to the beach bring shells! Not only is it fun to discover what animals live in shells, but shells make great items for counting, adding, or writing letters and numbers in the sand.
Our favorite shell books:
A House for Hermit Crab, Eric Carle
Sea Shells, Crabs, and Sea Stars, Christiane Kump Tibbitts
What Lives in A Shell?, Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Abandon Hives. No bees, we made sure! What a wonder these creations are! Once we knew the hive as safe, it fueled further learning. One hive = many days of questions.
Our favorite bee books:
The Honey Makers, Gail Gibbons
The Life and Times of the Bee, Charles Micucci
What wonders have landed on your porch?
What marvels might find their way to your porch tomorrow?
Please share your pictures in the comments.
Let's encourage one another as we keep our eyes open for the science little learners love!