4/20/13

Preschool Gardening Unit: exploring beans




Science Investigations:
To start the week out, we read the book One Bean, then looked at the first two bean investigations in Science with Plants and began both experiments.

1. Bean Exploration 

Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities
Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities
















We looked at some dried kidney beans and explored their smooth, hard texture.  Max had to punch it to see how hard it was.  (I tell ya, that kid is ALL boy!).  We also learned about the bean's scar- the white area on the bean that marks where it had been picked from the plant.

We put our beans in water to soak overnight then used this handy bean dissecting printable from Buggy and Buddy to predict what the beans will look like on the inside and recorded the outcome the following day.
Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities





2. Beans are Seeds


Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities
We planted some beans in a paper towel lined jar to observe over the next week.

Funny story.  I read somewhere that if you put the lid on your jar, it will keep the paper towels moist so you don't have to re-wet them.  The site even had pictures of their closed jars and of sprouted beans.  So I tried it.... but our beans barely sprouted, most of them not at all.   Not after a week anyway.

Here's a look at the inside of our best bean from the jar after several days:
Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities


Then the other night I saw something green deep in the drain of our bathroom sink.  It turned out the kids had dropped some beans down there and they sprouted!!  So we got to observe sprouted beans this week after all (and talk about how oxygen is necessary for plants to thrive)!

Here's a look at inside of one of our sink beans, same amount of time:
Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities
I waited until the next day to take a picture of our bean, so it's kind of dried out, but you can clearly see the roots and shoot.  Those beans really grew in the sink drain! :)



 Sight Word Bean Art


The boys' favorite part of Ready 2 Read is decorating their sight words!  It really is a wonderful way to engage the senses in the learning process.  Decorating the words allows for the sense of touch, sight, and depending on what you use to decorate the words, sometimes even taste and/or smell, to be integrated. It is also a great way to exercise the fine motor muscles and a bit of creativity.

Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities


I usually try to choose decorating materials that fit our theme/science focus. This week beans were the art medium of choice of course!  We used this opportunity to review what we've learned about beans and plants.  Then we sang the sight word song for each word.

Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities



R2R is a paid program, but you can find a ton of  sight words to decorate at 1+1+1=1 for free.  Or of course you could always print, draw or write out your own.  (**hint-- I've found it's a good idea to use cardstock for these projects).



Bean Sensory Bin

To further explore, I made up a small, simple sensory bin.  Kidney beans and split peas, a couple children's gardening tools, and a bucket was more than enough to explore.
Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities


Corrine loved all the sounds she could make!  She made music by banging her trowel against the floor, and against the side of the container and bucket (shaking the beans inside and making different rattling sounds).  The simple pleasures of childhood!
Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities

We talked about how the beans were seeds that could grow more beans and she chatted on about that for a while! :)



Hide the trowel
Max LOVED this game!  It also comes from the Homeschool Creations pack.

Exploring beans-- gardening themed learning activities

The object is for one player to secretly hide a small gardening trowel card under one of the number cards.  The second player has to guess where it is hidden.  Max got so excited when he found the trowel card, and to watch me try to find where he had hidden it!  It was a really fun way for him to practice recognizing numbers 1-20.  The pictures of him playing didn't come out well, but I wish they would have-- his excitement was priceless! :)



BOOKS:


 Jack's Garden
Jack's Garden by Henry Cole
This is a cute book that illustrates the steps it takes to plant a garden and how the garden grows after the seeds have been planted.  Each page repeats the previous steps and adds one more in the same fashion as "This is the House that Jack Built." For instance, "this is the rain, that wet the seeds, that fell on the soil, in the garden that Jack planted."     






Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candice Flemming
Poor Mr. McGreely tries so hard to keep a trio of pesky little bunnies from sneaking into his garden and munching up his veggies, but they out smart him every time.  We all got some laughs from this book!  It's a fun read aloud full of onomatopoeia and cause-and-effect scenarios.  There are many different ways you could go to explore this book further.  We had some great discussion during story time and we have a new favorite on our shelf!  







More Gardening themed activities you might like:

Fine motor practice:
Planting flowers in styrofoam-filled pots is a fun way to build fine motor skills.

Gardening themed sight word practice:
We planted (and grew) a word garden to learn sight words.  It was so much fun, and a very effective way to learn how to spell words!!



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23 comments :

  1. What a great resource! Off to pin this for later. :)

    Mary Catherine of Fun-A-Day!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mary Catherine! :)

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    2. I'm featuring this post at Stress-Free Sunday with Fun-A-Day! this week. I especially love the bean words! :)

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    3. I'm featuring this post at Stress-Free Sunday with Fun-A-Day! this week. I especially love the bean words!

      Delete
  2. What a great collection of bean activities. Lots of hands-on learning and fun!

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  3. Tanya, This is a wonderful fun educational group of activities! You've included so many skills! I do love the towel-lined jar! Thanks for sharing - will do the same!

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  4. I love the idea of using the beans with the sight words! Great week! Hope you don't mind if I pin that!

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    Replies
    1. Of course not, Nicole-- Pin away!! Thank you! :)

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  5. Can't wait to try some of these ideas with my son. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  6. Great ideas! Love using the beans for tactile letters. Thanks for sharing your unit!

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  7. I love all of your fun ideas! Thanks for linking to Share It Saturday this week. I am featuring your post tomorrow!

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  8. It is great how you used the bean theme for a bunch of activities. Such a great way to learn. Thanks for linking up at Artsy Play Wednesday. Your post has been pinned to our group board.

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  9. Just wanted to pop back in and let you know I'm featuring this post today on Fantastic Fun and Learning. http://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/kids-science-in-the-garden.html Thanks again for sharing your great ideas at the Discover and Explore linky!

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  11. Hi! I love those seed activities! I'm your newest follower!

    ✿Sue✿
    Science for Kids Blog

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  12. I love planting a grow garden with children. I work as a nursery teacher and last year something similar happened to us when trying to grow lentils. We planted them in cups with cotton, but they wouldn't sprout. Then, after a long weekend of three days, we came back to the classroom only to find some sprouted lentils in our sand table, where the children had enjoyed some sensory play with seeds the previous week. All the lentils needed was desert sand and a bit of rain! Children (and I) got so excited!!

    I'm new to your blog, by the way, and copying already your applesauce recipe to share with my children :)

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    Replies
    1. Ha! That is so funny your lentils sprouted in the sand table!

      Thank you so much for the sweet comment, I'm so happy to hear you can use the applesauce recipe with your class! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and tell me so! :)

      Delete
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