During our fourth week on the farm we continued to explore life cycles of plants and animals. How do birds differ from mammals? What happens in soil and how does a seed become a plant? We discussed what scientists do and how we are scientists on the farm. We also revisited the idea that we all speak different languages, including our animals on the farm.
During our arrival time, we voted on apples or cherries. Over the past two weeks we have been visiting the beautiful blossoms on our apple and cherry trees, along with our hardest working creatures on the farm, our bees. We signed in by hunting for a rock with our name on it and matching to our name on paper. Farm Sprouts were then invited to take their special name rock home with them. Many Farm Sprouts reported that these name rocks would be added to their rock collections at home. Children had an opportunity to revisit our “Count the Chickens” game and to explore play dough with various tools.
We gathered as a group on at our classroom duck pond and welcomed Ms. Carmen to meet and say hello to our Farm Sprouts. She kindly supported us this week while Ms. Brooke was in Maine. We practiced saying “Hello” in different languages.
“Hola” – Spanish
“Labas” – Lithuanian
“Kon’nichiwa” – Japanese
“Bonjour’ – French
We also played a game called “Barnyard Babble” and practiced speaking the different languages of the animals on the farm. We read the book, What Do Scientists Do? by Daniel Jacobs. We learned that we are scientists here at Tollgate Farm. We look and listen, measure and take notes, watch how things change, draw pictures, ask questions, and work together to come up with answers to our questions, just like scientists do. We referred to the visual evidence of our scientific work we do at the farm, by noticing the photographs, journal entries, and questions and quotes on our Wonder Wall. Before heading outside, we took a look at a robin’s egg shell that a Farm Sprout discovered last week. We noted its blue color and small size. We observed what a chick might look like inside its egg at Day #14. We also checked on our incubator to see if the environment inside was warm and moist. We are learning that these are important conditions for the healthy development of our chicks. All was still quiet inside! We wonder what we might find next week on Day #21?
As we headed outside, we checked in on our sunflowers in the greenhouse. We observed white roots popping through the bottom of our newspaper pots. We revisited the “Fab Five” things that plants need to grow in nature and thought: Maybe our sunflowers are starting to need more space? We took a peek at our phototropism experiment and one Farm Sprout said, “Look it’s tipping towards the light!” What is phototropism? Read on here to find out more or just take a look at what is happening in the photo below!
For our Garden Snack this week, we had a very special visitor, Robin Danto, an Extension Educator with the MSU Extension Health and Nutrition Institute. We explored the idea of “Eating from the Rainbow” as we engaged in some great activities. Color races and bracelets had us practicing our colors and associating fruits and vegetables with the colors. We munched rainbow salad as we listened to “Vegetable Party” by Laura Doherty. We practiced the saying, “Don’t yuck my yum!” to keep us focused on staying positive and adventurous when faced with new foods or foods we tend to scrunch our nose at when placed on our plates. And Farm Sprouts were adventurous! Most tried something new! Thank you, Ms. Robin, for guiding us through this week’s Garden Snack and providing us with great resources, including coloring books!
Ms. Robin recommends the following books to continue the conversation at home:
Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan
We Like to Eat by Michigan Fitness Foundation
A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian
I Can Eat a Rainbow by Lizzie Swan and Marlowe Beckmann
In the animal barn, we met Gracie, a mama goat, and discussed how mammals are covered in fur and make milk for their babies. We noted differences between mammals and birds. We learned about a mother goat’s teats and udder and practiced how to milk, using our upside down thumb as an udder and our other hand and fingers to open and close around our thumb. Our Farm Sprouts were then invited to take a turn milking Gracie and some of us were very adventurous! We visited with our friends the goat kids and discovered a couple of hens had made nests in the straw and laid an egg in each nest. Outside the animal barn we got a chance to visit with our lop-eared rabbits, Eleanor and Opal.
We headed back to the classroom to wash up and find a shady place to journal. We relaxed under the evergreen trees near our pond and drew pictures and took notes, just like scientists. We read, Whose Egg? by Lynette Evans (a lift the flap book). Whose eggs do you think we found in the gardens by the offices? Thank you to the Grady family for donating this book to our program! It surprised us to learn that a platypus is covered in fur and lays eggs. We took a short pond walk and discovered a large snapping turtle milling about in the cattails. We wondered what that egg-laying creature was doing in there? We look forward to discovering what is happening in our incubator with Farm Sprouts this coming week!
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”– Jane Goodall