Spring is a busy time in our science center! I was getting a little stir crazy with this long winter so I planted a mini desert to put in the science area. It is a glass container with a cover (so no one touches the cacti) and three different types of cacti. One is very spiky, one is furry and one is a succulent with smooth leaves. I found the glass container at a Michaels craft store. The cacti were on a clearance rack in Lowes. They were looking lonely and ready for a home. After carefully planting the plants in sand I added some plastic scorpions and some dinosaur bones from an earlier project. It looks something like this.
Meet Larry, Curly and Moe. I wanted to have plants with different textures. The kids were interested in see the different kinds of plants that live in dry areas. The little dinosaur bones tucked in behind the cactus plant were a big hit too.
I also have some tropical plants there were also on the clearance rack. These will go along with our rain forest unit next week. I am planning on adding some poison arrow frogs and snakes to the pots. This kids think it is interesting that the topical plants get watered several times a week and the desert plants rarely get watered.
Spring is also see planting time. We planted a variety of herbs in little terra cotta pots. There are 9 total pots. I am planning on having the kids decorate the pots once they have sprouted and they can give them as gifts to some of our other teachers and assistants. Next week we will plant some herbs for the kids to take home. We might plant sunflower seeds too. I will have to add pictures once they have sprouted. They are not very interesting looking right now.
The biggest excitement is the incubator. We have 18 eggs in a little incubator. They take 21 days to hatch. It is so hard to wait that long. Some of the kids seem a little skeptical about whether there are really going to be chicks in the eggs. We will find out in 17 days……
There are some interesting plants that live in the desert. They have some adaptations to help them survive.
Why does this plant have spikes instead of leaves? Is this cactus part of a food web?
prickly pear cactus
The prickly pear can be eaten. Would your students want to eat one? How are they harvested?
Why does the this cactus grow so slowly?
Here is an animal that lives inside the cactus. The pygmy owl
What advantage does this owl have when it makes a nest in a cactus?
How does this animal contribute to the food chain?
Here are some plants that I have seen during my walks in the woods. Some of the plants are native to Wisconsin and some are invasive species.
Queen Anne’s lace
Common milkweek seeds. These are really soft and fun to see fly in the wind. If you open the pod slowly you can see the seeds arranged in a spiral.
These are easy to find in the fall. Just go for a walk in the woods and you will end up with some stuck to you. I use these in lessons to show the students where the idea of Velcro came from.
Puffball mushroom. These are pretty cool. They can get to be the size of a soccer ball.
Here is a great building activity. It is from modernparentsmessykids.com I even want to try it building something myself right now. I can see kids of any age enjoying this.
This geography lesson seems like fun. It will also teach me some new geography words.
Fun use of swizzle sticks. These would also be great for patterning, measuring, counting etc.
Here is a great King Tut unit that I know that kids would really get into.
I really want to try this pineapple growing project!
Salt painting looks fun!
This lego math game looks fun. I am an adult (chronologically) and I still love legos!
Frozen water beads!
I have tried to correctly given credit to everyone and links to their projects and blogs. If I have made a mistake please let me know and I will make the necessary correction.
Today I found a birds nest on the ground in a field near our house. It must have blown down in a recent storm. It is amazing that a bird can build this using just their beaks and feet.
While I was out I collected two jars of pond water. I did not take a picture because you cannot see much. With a magnifying glass you can see tiny little creatures in the water. There are a few little snails. Tomorrow I am going to look at some pond water under the microscope.
This next experiment involves a bottle, banana and a balloon. The question was can you blow up a balloon with a banana. The experiment called for a mashed banana. I did not want to waste a banana so I tried using the peel. So far it has not done much. This picture was taken after about 6 hours.
If it works I want to try other things to blow up balloons. I know that vinegar and baking soda will work. Maybe I could try hot water, diet coke and menthos, hmmmm. This could get interesting.
Here are some plants that I have been attempting to grow. Of the 6 that I planted 2 have sprouted. The one on the left is a cactus and the one on the right is a pine tree. Now, let’s see if I can keep them alive.