Fall is in full swing around here and with that comes many fallen treasures on the ground. Children are fascinated with such natural treasures and are always keen on sharing their observations and interests with one another. One evening Yousuf and I went for an autumn walk in the grounds of Golden Ears Park where we collected leaves in different shapes, sizes and colours. The Following day a small provocation was arranged on the light table for the children to explore and use.
We closely examined the leaves looking at the veins and stems. “The leaf is broken here” Oliver noticed and pointed at the leaf. “The caterpillar ate this leaf” replied Yousuf. “We gave our caterpillar leaves to eat” shared Yousuf, referring to his fuzzy pet caterpillar.
Each child spent time sorting and organizing the leaves based on their own criteria. Some sorted by shape, some by size, and some by colour. We identified and learned the name of the trees the leaves came from. We traced the leaves and made leaf rubbing art. During each investigation they were using higher-level thinking skills.
As I observed and interacted with the children, we observed, hypothesized, and recorded after each provocation. New learning opportunities and activities were based on their curiosity, knowledge, and experiences.
During our nature walk children noticed different sized pine cones on the ground. Each child had a collection of their found treasures which included pine cones, sticks, rocks and leaves. We recorded in our nature journals by drawing and tracing. Children were also given cameras to photograph their treasures. Our first experiment with our gathered materials was to see which objects floated and which sank. Each child hypothesized and recorded their results through drawings. Our second experiment was to notice a change in the pine cone when submersed in water. We recorded changes in appearance and size.
Inspired by the excitement of the harvesting of fall pumpkins; I think it is the best time to utilize the endless possibilities of pumpkins in our classroom this year. Pumpkins have come to symbolize not only the vibrant colours of fall but the spirit of the season as well. I wish to de-emphasize the holiday connections but still tap into the wide array of pumpkin related links in math, science, language arts, social studies, cooking, music and art.
A simple activity allowed children to explore the beautiful colours of the squash family through a little observational painting.
Representational art shows interesting features of something observed. Observational art involves skills, techniques, and tools that are basic to the visual arts; but making it is not necessarily an artistic process. it is encouraged so that children learn the careful process of including greater attention to detail.
Learning to ‘draw what you see’ can provide important tools for communication, understanding, and documentation. it can be especially useful to those who have not yet learned to write. drawing from observation can also become the basis for more complex representations in other media.
Up next: We will investigate, play and learn to find out whether the pumpkin sinks or floats. We will measure the height and width of different sized pumpkins. We will observe and record our findings of the inside and outside of the pumpkin.