Beginning to Grow….

Our first Discovery Studio day this year was devoted to planting the seeds that would start our garden growing!

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All of our classes were given coir discs.  Coir, a fiber made from coconut husks, makes a great seed starter mix and it provides us with a fairly clean medium to work with… well, as clean as dirt can be! :)

The coir is dehydrated, and the first step for all of our students was to add water.  By adding a little bit of water, you could instantly see the coir rehydrate and see it begin to take it’s shape as  a soil substrate.  For our smaller students this was a fun experiment in itself!  Once the coir was hydrated we filled up a seed tray that the classes used to start seeds in their classrooms.

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Starting seeds in their classrooms gave students the opportunity to check on their growth daily.  It also provided an opportunity for the teachers to reinforce the concepts and vocabulary we introduced the entire time that the seeds were germinating!

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We also looked at different seeds.  We compared and contrasted their shapes, size, and what kind of plant they would grow to be.

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Then our students took some of the seeds that we talked about and they planted them in their very own ‘green house’.  The green houses were made from a ziplock bag that had a small wet paper towel inside of them to create moisture for the seed to begin to grow.  These were hung inside their classrooms, so much like the trays the students could track their progress.  Unlike the trays though, with these bags we could see the entire seed, root, stem, and leaf through the germination process!  It’s definitely a different way to observe what happens and can be very memorable for the kids.

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With our older students we ended with an experiment that also went into their classroom.  To test what we learned about what seeds need to begin to grow, we took a clear kitchen glove and in each finger we put an experimental/control sample. The fingers contained a seed by itself (a type of control), a seed submerged in water, a seed on a wet paper towel, a seed in wet soil, and a seed on a wet cotton ball.  We hypothesized that since seeds needed sun, water, and nutrients… the seed in the soil would grow the best.  The students could chart their progress.  It was definitely a fun experiment!

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…

CLOUD!

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One of the things that we love to do with the kids (especially when the glorious fall weather hits!!) is to take them on nature walks!  You never know what you will see, and it’s a great opportunity for hands on learning that lets them explore outside, in nature.

Using a template that I modified, I made cloud viewers for the kids to take with them on their walks.  Who said science walks need to be only nature hikes looking down at the ground for life science specimens?? Looking up can encourage different body movements and stretches, matching skills while you try and match the clouds to their photos, and also encourages some imagination while you try to guess what they look like.  This is preschool after all!  It may be a cumulus cloud, but it still looks like a dragon. :)

The Studio…

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This year Discovery Studio classes will be offered weekly to all classes, but in addition the room is being set up to be a constant resource for our teachers.  The room has seen some slight changes and the additions of some new instruments, books, and even homemade games to encourage the kids to hang out and immerse themselves in science play on any day.

On the main chalkboard, lessons and concepts are introduced in a friendly way that is also interactive.  One of our main goals for the very near future is to get our garden up and running.  We will be talking quite a bit about gardens, seeds, and plants.  As we are discussing some of the concepts, little ones are encouraged to ‘draw’ with chalk worms that will help aerate the seeds I drew. ;)  Every student will be planting seeds in coconut coir.  By rehydrating the coir themselves we can discuss the properties of liquids and solids… and look at the change that occurs sometimes when the two are mixed!  It’s a great opportunity to talk about soil and what seeds need to grow.  We will use the coir to plant seeds in seed trays for our garden and in a ziploc bag each child will make their own ‘greenhouse’.  We are also going to look at some live worms and discuss how they help our gardens grow.

I’m hopeful that you will be seeing images of cherry tomatoes and broccoli in no time!  I can only hope that our garden grows just as quickly as our little ones! ;)

Spring is going to be magnificent!

Hatching chicks, emerging butterflies, launching water rockets, crafting hovercrafts, perfecting pocket chemistry, and so much more before the end of the year!

Check back for some great pictures of what’s ahead…

In the meantime here are a few pics from before spring break.

Square Bubbles??

DuBow preschoolers know bubbles are some of my favorite things! I challenged them to make bubbles that weren’t round. Success!

Welcome!

I am humbled and honored to join the wonderful staff, faculty, and students of the DuBow Preschool to lead explorations in the new Discovery Studio! After 15 years in the science museum, aquarium, environmental education, and children’s museum fields, I founded BoomScience, a science education business providing enriching programs for children and educators.

The Discovery Studio is a hands-on science center with interactive exhibits capitalizing on students innate curiosity about the world around them. Here, we will create dynamic and meaningful learning experiences in an energetic and creative environment. From hatching butterflies to launching rockets, racing balloons to building super bubbles, we find the science in our fun!

We want to extend these learning experience into your home! Look for simple, fun, family activities coming soon to this blog!

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