Ant Farm

Most of our students are delighted by all the little creepy crawlies they observe as they are playing outdoors, and ants are no exception.

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After all, they work together as a team in every task to build their community and can lift several times their own weight – pretty cool!

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This was a fun and easy way for your little ones to experience a real ant farm! After waiting a couple of days for the ants to complete their tunnels, your little ones spent days observing these amazing insects.

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This gel-based ant farm was based on the 2003 NASA Space Shuttle experiment designed to determine whether ants would tunnel in zero gravity, and was marketed to be sold to the public.

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The result is a bluish gel that provides all nutrition to a variety of ant types, and a beautiful network of canals available to your little one.

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A is for Ant- Emergent Writing Activities

Phonological awareness activities are activities that increase children’s awareness of the sounds of language.

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These activities include playing games and listening to stories, poems, and songs that involve rhyme, alliteration, sound matching, and emergent writing.

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Emergent writing encourages children to  emergent forms of writing, such as scribble writing, random letter strings, and invented spelling.

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To enhance your children’s phonological awareness of the letter A (which we learned about Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of last week), we participated in a variety of activities that supported this.

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We inititally used tweezers and paper ants to create the letter A, and then we used playdoh to make the letter A.

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In addition to strengthening phonological awareness, these activities also supported their fine motor skills.

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Ant Hills

Ant hills are an impressive feature of the grasslands throughout the United States.

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In some areas, many hundreds of these mounds form wonderful ant-created landscapes, many decades or even centuries old.

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Each ant hill is the result of many lifetimes of labor by thousands of tiny ants.

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Ant hills are of great ecological importance, and so we created our very own!

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Using popsicle stick ants, rocks, sticks, and sand, we created our very own ant hills!

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Insects and other small animals are a key part in any food chain, a subject your students will study in elementary science.

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Knowing about them and having respect for insects now will help them better appreciate insects’ importance later.

Garden Sensory Bin

Every garden offers children a rich, sensory playground, full of interesting things to discover and learn about.

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There’s a whole lot of science happening right before their eyes.

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The garden can also be a place to develop math and literacy skills, as the outdoors offers up plenty of invitations to count seeds and learn new plant names.

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The garden classroom is a place where plants grow, and where children grow too. For this activity, we used soil, seeds, shovels, plant labels (toothpicks with pictures on them), and our imaginations to create our very own garden!

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Students worked together to create their very own masterpiece of flowers. oranges. cucumbers, and other exciting foliage to help them be the best gardeners they could be!

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Worm Weaving

Weaving is such an excellent activity to try with preschoolers!

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Weaving not only promotes fine motor skills, but helps children learn how to create patterns and work through problems they may encounter while weaving.

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It can also be a beautiful way for children to express themselves artistically. For this activity, we weaved worms into paper “soil” using orange and burgundy worms. Your little one weaved strips of paper through their “dirt”, to create a beautiful piece of worm art!

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Worm Observation Table

When your little ones came to school for this activity, they found worms on the water table for some viewing.  I propped the lid up onto the water table and sprinkled it with soil and plastic worms.

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Students used magnifying glasses to watch the wiggly worms and large tweezers to observe them more closely. We then used small notebooks to make observations about  what they looked like. First, we talked about their segmented bodies. Then we sang a song called W is for Willy, Who Is a Worm.

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Following that, we practiced our observation skills by posing the worms in various positions that we thought may help them eat, sleep, and wriggle around. Some children created little hills for them, others placed them underneath the dirt, and others thought they would enjoy going inside the water table.

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Through observation and documentation (recording what they see), your child is learning to make associations and differentiate between how things look and act.

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Measuring Worms

Measurement occupies a host of important occupational and life skills, and can be a difficult task for young children to master. To initiate a discussion on measurement, your little one arranged pipe cleaner snakes by shortest to longest. Following this, your little one used a tape measure to measure each snake. This activity enabled your little one to practice their counting, observation, and critical thinking skills.

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Measurement can be a tricky concept for preschoolers to grasp, so experimenting with real objects assists them in the understanding of complex measurement concepts. When relaying concepts of measurement, it’s best for your budding scientists to stay concrete because that’s how preschoolers think at this stage of their development.

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Still, the basics of measurement can be taught at the preschool level with great effectiveness by using a ruler, as long as they are utilized to compare and contrast objects only.

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The paper ruler activity below helps develop a sense of the awareness that every day objects have a certain length. The acquisition of measurement concepts also includes new vocabulary.

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Throughout the activity, your little one was encouraged to use words such as longer, smaller, heavier, lighter, and variations of the terms such as large, larger, and largest.

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Worm Habitats

We began our bug month with a lesson about all things wormy!!

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Although native to Europe, earthworms are found throughout North America and western Asia.

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Earthworms’ bodies are made up of ringlike segments called annuli.

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These segments are covered in setae, or small bristles, which the worm uses to move and burrow.

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Using realistic looking worms, brown playdoh, wood chips, and rocks, we created our very own worm habitats.

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Your little ones learned that earthworms are vital to soil health and to plants growing in it because they transport nutrients and minerals from below to the surface via their waste.

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They then watched a brief video about earthworms, read a book about them (with our flannel board), and then set out to construct their very own habitats!!

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Sink or Swim Experiment

There are times in science where changing one variable can be the difference between fire and smoke, conducting and insulating, and in this case, sinking and swimming.

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In the sink or swim experiment, your little one learned how adding one variable to water will change the amount of surface tension the water has.

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They saw that anything they added to water can quickly affect whether something (in this case, a leaf) sits on water or not. They then added pennies, one at a time, to see how many it would take to sink their leaf!

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Parts of a Flower

Teaching preschoolers about the three main parts of a flower — the roots, stem and flower petals — is best accomplished through simple language. This activity required several steps.

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Your little ones were initially introduced to the roots of a flower by learning that the roots are what hold the flower in the ground. This information was followed up by us pulling a flower out of the ground.

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Your budding florists were able to see the roots come up out of the ground. Students were then encouraged to touch the roots.

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As they examined the roots, they were told that the flower’s roots are like their mouths: the roots are how the flowers get food from the soil.

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We then replanted the flower being used in the demonstration. As we finished patting supportive soil around the stem, your preschooler’s attention was directed to the stem.

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You child was then informed that the stem is what holds the flower up. It was compared to their legs which support their bodies. They were told that the stem brings the food from the roots to the rest of the flower.

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Lastly, we learned that the flower at the top of the stem is called the petals. Your little one was told that this is the part of the plant that makes more flowers.

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To help apply their understanding of this new vocabulary, we created our own flowers out of playdoh! Using a diagram, your little one created roots, a stem, the flower petals, and seeds!

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