Welcome to the Red Band’s exploration of seeds. During our first week of this new arc we identified the needs of a seed: water, air, sun, and soil. We went on a neighborhood seed hunt and sorted our findings by: seeds, seed holders, and leaves and flowers. Our second quest for understanding seeds came by way of dissection.
We read From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer and learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin. Next we measured, weighed, and drew observations of our pumpkin. The time finally came for us to slice it open and find out what was inside. Once the pumpkin was split we added to our drawings and labeled what we saw: skin, flesh, pulp, seeds, and stem. We continued to dissect gourds this past week and compared a warted gourd to our pumpkin observations. Though I handled the cutting of the larger pumpkin, the kids took on the task of sawing through the tough skin and flesh of the gourd noting, “It’s hard to cut.”
We are still working at our first thoughts on what a seed needs to grow. This week we tested cut leaves to observe their relationship with water and air. We confirmed that plants need air to breathe once we saw bubbles form on a large smooth leaf. After observing a small smooth leaf for two minutes we saw no relationship. Two minutes with a small fuzzy leaf also showed no relationship but the kids observed that it felt softer after its bath.
We had the opportunity to visit Slide Ranch in Muir Beach. This lovely working farm welcomed us for a day of hands-on appreciation for people, plants, and animals. Our teacher, Reesha Rabbit, introduced us to sweet goat named Amber who let us milk her. We met turkeys and worked on our turkey calls. In the garden we learned a lesson on respect: how to show it and how to ask for it. We tasted herbs and vegetables before visiting the ducks. We quietly quacked a song for them to enjoy which we now call, “March of the Nutquacker”. Finally we met one protective rooster and many different types of hen. And we were able to hold and observe a freshly laid bumpy egg.
We have also entered National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a time for all writers to commit to working on and publishing one piece of writing. For the Red Band, we are working on our own picture books. We discussed the different forms these books may take: words and pictures, pictures only, and pictures with dialogue. We are focusing on the five elements of story: characters, setting, theme, plot, and conflict. So far, we have chosen our characters and are placing them in a setting. If you would like to learn more about this experience or sign-up to participate at www.nanowrimo.org or www.ywp.nanowrimo.org