March 31, 2017
As our new school garden has begun to take shape—how exciting!—we turned our classroom into a lunchtime botanical laboratory. We had five different fun stations. As the children entered the room, they saw a large table filled with various plants we’ve collected. The children studied parts of a plant with a magnifying glass: roots, stems, leaves, buds, flowers, seeds and fruits. We then directed the kids to the next table where we discussed examples of how humans use the plants. Some examples were: perfume (a bottle of perfume), food (dried fruit, potato, honey, chocolate), spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), drinks (orange juice box), clothing (sample of cotton), paper (sample of handmade paper), wood (wooden toy), rubber from rubber tree (natural latex rubber). We showed a chart of many uses of corn: cooking, baking, feeding livestock, drinks, chewing gum, peanut butter, antibiotics, soap, insecticides, plastics, adhesives, paper products, ethanol and so on. The third table had a beautiful bouquet and markers and colored pencils. Several books on drawing were open to sketches and paintings of famous artists. Here, our students tried their hand at still life drawing. Another table had samples of local California plants and aromatic herbs. We looked through the book California Native Plants and read the book Redwoods. And finally, at the fifth table the children dissected various fruits and vegetables, studied the seeds and classified the fruit.
Vocabulary: Botany, photosynthesis, pollination, deciduous, evergreen