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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Waterspout Tornadoes

Waterspout tornadoes fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts. Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado, are associated with severe thunderstorms, and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning. Fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds. This type of waterspout is generally not associated with thunderstorms.

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To help your little one grasp the idea of the waterspout tornado, we created our very own at the water table. Using pre-made funnels, constructed of paper and plastic bags, we produced whirlpools, watching with glee as our “tornadoes” sloshed the water around the water table, sucking up fish and other debris. This activity enabled your little one to explore the physical properties of water: density, volume, polarity, and cause and effect. Young children are naturally curious. To help foster their understanding of how the world works, it is essential that they learn about the various weather patterns that exist, and the interactions between them. This activity also cultivated their observation skills.

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Clouds and a Cotton Ball

For this activity, your little one demonstrated how rain falls from clouds with the help of cotton balls, turkey basters, and water. To initiate this activity, your budding meteorologist learned about the physical properties of clouds, how they are created, hold water, and eventually form hurricanes. This activity accessed several areas of development.

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By adding water to the cotton balls, each student experimented with a variety of measurement concepts such as volume, density, and weight. As they regarded the varying amount of water seeping from their “clouds”, they experienced the physical components of cause and effect. Lastly, they acquired new language, as they discussed how their clouds changed shape with the added water.

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Q is for Quail

There are many myths surrounding the Thanksgiving feast. According to historians, this festive celebration most likely occurred between September 21st and November 11th in 1621. Though turkey is the professed staple of this holiday, it is more likely that the American Indians introduced our colonist friends to an array of fowl.

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Having never experienced a North American winter, these newcomers were inexperienced in gathering and hunting the sustenance necessary for their survival. The Wampanoag Indians remedied this situation by introducing the Pilgrims to quails.

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Your little pilgrim learned about the history of the quail, and its role in the Thanksgiving celebration. They then used feathers, plastic eyes, pipe cleaners, and clay to create their own version of a quail.

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Manipulating malleable materials, like clay, has a calming affect on young children. As they roll, coil, and mold their creations into an observable shape, they are engaging in a process of discovery and exploration. Clay also provides immediate tactile and visual feedback.

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Husking Corn

Corn was a staple of the first Thanksgiving celebration, so we have incorporated it into our Thanksgiving curriculum! We not only learned about the history of corn, but its anatomy, how it grows, and most importantly, how to eat it!

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Using our fingers, we removed the husks from sweet corn, cooked it, and ate it for snack! When children are involved with food experience and food preparation, they are more interested in trying it.

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Husking corn gives children an opportunity to see how corn looks when it leaves the field. They are learning that corn simply does not come out of the freezer or a can off the shelf. It is an opportunity to touch, see the husk of the corn kernels, and hear the snap and crackle of the corn husk as it is pulled off of the ear.

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Gooey Ghosts

Young children perceive their world through their hands. They are constantly on the move, manipulating things and arranging items as a means to understand their functions.

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Providing materials and experiences that contribute to the acclimation on new concepts facilitates discovery and intrigue.

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Using black pasta pieces, shaving cream, and baking soda, we created our own ghosts!

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Your little one squirted shaving foam out of a can and combined it with baking soda to create a dough.

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They then added pasta pieces for the eyes. Lastly, they added vinegar, as they watched their ghosts foam and fizzle!

 

Dragon Slime

Sensory activities play a key role in the maturation process of young children. Activities that require manipulation and touch enable children to heighten the adaptive response through their senses.

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They are an integral component in early childhood education. They not only engage the child, but stimulate cognitive development.  To access this, your young one participated in an activity where they made dragon slime!

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Using corn starch, food coloring, water, and glitter, we manipulated and created various combinations to create the perfect consistency for our goo!

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Ichthyosaurus Habitat

Fossils have revealed that the Ichthyosaurus lived from the early Jurassic Period up until the early Cretaceous Period. They are not dinosaurs, but marine reptiles. As carnivores, they were fond of fish and cephalopods. Their powerful dorsal fin enabled them to reach speeds surpassing thirty miles per hour in the water. To apply our understanding of this new information, we created a habitat for our Ichthyosaurs, consisting of gel for the water, rocks, shells, fish, and ichthyosaurs. Constructing a habitat can be a powerful educational tool. It not only provides a means to apply one’s understanding of new information, but conveys that information in an interesting and dynamic way that appeals to young learners.
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Flippers and Friction

The Ichthyosaurus was a marine reptile that roamed the prehistoric seas. These massive creatures ranged from seven to thirty feet, and used their massive dorsal fin and powerful flippers to navigate. To introduce the concept of friction and its relationship to speed in the water, we swam with our very own flippers! We initiated this activity by placing our hands into some water to make waves. We then placed Ziploc bags onto our hands, and did the same thing. We followed this with a discussion of the differences between the two. Our conversation consisted of questions such as “What made bigger waves, when we had bags on our hands or when we didn’t?” and “Why do you think the bags made bigger waves?”. This activity facilitated several developmental areas, including deduction, cause and effect, and cooperative learning.ImageImageImageImageImageImage