Lower Elementary students examined the world through an integrated study of botany.
Ms. Marsha led the study as part of her final project toward Montessori Teacher Certification.
One area of study was exploring plant life from the cellular level. Third year students built their own plant cells identifying each part. Following an introduction to types of leaves students enjoyed collecting as many different shapes as they could find and many traced the leaves to make a “Leaf Book”. Creating this leaf book concretely showed the children the geometric concept of symmetry.
Reading and discussing The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry provided a literature focus. It is a beautifully illustrated story about the Amazon Rainforest. Some of the children were inspired to create their own rainforest biomes featuring a variety of plants and animals carefully crafted with paper, scissors and glue. Another focus was the study of seeds. Dissection of the Lima Bean revealed all the interesting contents of the seed. Then the seeds were wrapped in damp paper towels and a plastic bag and left in the sunlight so that the seedling growth could be observed. When the sprout emerged they were ready to be planted in a pot.
Restoration of Elementary garden areas is also underway. With help from Kit Sweeney students planted peppers and a variety of vegetables from seed including Chard and Bush Beans. They were intrigued by Bluebonnet pods and Indian Blanket seed heads as they discovered that what looks dead can actually contain the opportunity for new life. Students learned how to scarify, release and sort the seeds to prepare them for planting in the beds.
Seeds are such a powerful symbol of growth we look forward to seeing the results of work for the children and for our newest certified teacher in the spring!