With spring inching its way closer every day, we are able to take all the learning outside! Well, depending on where you are, you are gearing up for summer…!
[Peek inside this post to see pics of homemade magnifying glasses and more!]
The boys found dozens of worms outside after a string of rainy days here. They had all sorts of discussions about how worms celebrate their birthdays and they evolved into talking about the food chain.
Suddenly, there was a rush to the door and out they went – and I followed right behind them with my camera! <we have a plastic bag that hangs on a tree with markers and clip boards>
They decided to build a worm playground – which quickly changed into a worm house. One child stayed with the former. They sketched their plans and in the process of scouting for places to find ‘homeless’ worms, they discovered even more about the nature that is around us: new green, a fuller creek and even a friendly salamander to boot : )
Just like scientists they went from hypothetical questions, to testing them, checking for validity and finally assessing their discoveries. In the process, they were knee-deep learning about structures and how they work, what to make bases strong, and the properties of what makes a house (when one of the boys talked about adding a ‘”moss roof.”). And let’s not forget what happens when you get an active worm on your hand! This is an incredibly rich process.
And it’s the process that children should be using every day. It’s the process of knowing how to answer their own questions and how to anticipate new ones. Or to just simply wonder about new things and solve problems (like the boy who adjusted his wood pile to fit the roof over it.). On their way to solving problems they benefit tremendously from trial and error which also encourages them to take risks.
This was a great opportunity for the children to come up with visual Venn diagrams – comparing and sorting similarities and differences about worms and humans.
The worms in their brand new house – prime real estate!
Here is a friendly “Sally” who showed up in the middle of all the action.
The sketches were there as a guide, but quickly seemed to turn into mere ‘decorations’ after the soil offered information that was not anticipated at first.
Set-Up for Episode #18:
- Ample space outdoors – preferably with grass and trees
- Markers for documentation or observational drawings
- Clip boards (we used cardboard and paper clips because are lighter to travel)
- Magnifying glasses (see below for pics of my favorites!)
Homemade magnifying glass: fill a clear container with water and let it overflow. Put the cap on. Without air bubbles, it works as a magnifying glass!
This works really well with small hands – it also has a preset distance between the glass and surface.
This folds up and it fits in kids’ pockets.
It also offers two metric systems to measure samples.
This is a loupe – just like the ones watchmakers use.
When it’s cupped around kids eyes (and adults love these!), it blocks the light and it magnifies objects up to 5X – when you nest two of these you get instant 10x magnification!
The homemade magnifying glass is a bit on the heavy side so it might pose a challenge for long walks. The cardboard clip boards are quite light and you can fit several in one bag! We generally don’t remove animals from nature, but sometimes, at the end of the fall, we will care for worms, salamanders, and frogs to quickly send them back when spring comes around. We’ve had to face death here and there but that’s part of life.
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