Fall Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #7 Wednesday AM

We’re arriving to the end of the program and working to build final connections to support the big question of our inquiry project, “How do plants and animals prepare for winter?” The ideas, questions, and thoughts are really flowing and we have seen huge growth in scientific thinking skills. Our Wonder Wall becomes the place where we make the learning visible to the children to support memory recall of past experiences in order to build connections and create new understandings. We’ve been referring to the Wonder Wall as we gather these past few weeks, as it is in these past weeks that all we’ve been learning really begins to come together. We invite you to take some time to visit the Wonder Wall at the program conclusion next week!

To sign in this week, we wrote a letter from our name on the scute of a turtle’s back. We voted for silo or tractor and will likely end up visiting both next week, as many were curious about both! We had an experiment set up to explore the properties of wool and feathers with observation and discussion on what happens when water drips onto these animal coverings. One child stated, “It beads.” We wondered why? We observed that water and oil separate when we shake them in a tube. We’ll continue to explore what is going on and how animals stay warm and dry as the season transitions to winter. We also sang and danced to the Tollgate version of the song, “Oh, Fall is Here.”

We gathered to take out Coltrane, a red-bellied cooter turtle, for some hands-on time, a first for many! We made observations about his anatomy and how he moves. We thought about his habitat and his needs, which include water, rocks, and a heat lamp. We felt his shell and his feet, head, and tail. We noticed his body was cool compared to ours and the other mammals on the farm. We learned he is cold-blooded and figured out that the heat lamp keeps him warm and the rocks help him climb up to dry out. What do wild turtles do to survive the winter? How could we find out? These are additional questions we could explore and this is a wonderful component of inquiry-based learning on a farm. The opportunities for learning and discovery are endless and equally fascinating for both teachers and children!

It was then time to head outside for a hike to the Animal Barn. On the way, we sang our “Hunt the Cows!” song. You can expect to learn it as well next week! At the barn we met Bear, a young North Country Cheviot breed of sheep, born in the spring. A sheep named Bear? That is silly! We felt Bear’s wool and marveled at its thickness. We observed sheep behavior and compared it to the behavior of goats. How is their behavior different? Farm Sprouts should have some thoughts to share with you! We stopped to spend time with our rabbits as well, noting their soft fur and how it compared to Bear’s wool.

Back at the Activity Center, we prepared our snack, baked sweet potatoes grown right here at MSU Tollgate Farm by our Sustainable Agriculture program and served with butter, sea salt, and Tollgate maple syrup. Yum! Most gave them a taste and some gobbled them down in their entirety! While we were eating, we read the book Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow. Farm Sprouts were really interested in the different leaves and enjoyed matching the leaves to the trees. This book inspired some great leaf hunting near the pond!

After filling our bellies, we turned to a project. Farm Sprouts felted and dyed wool into bracelets to take home as a memento from the season next week. Some of us documented our ideas about animal coverings our journals and we “cooked” with corn in the sensory table. 

Lastly, we headed out on a big adventure hike, which included crossing a waterfall and exploring the north end of the pond. There are some really fascinating trees to discover at the farm! We spotted Canadian geese and ducks, including both our farm ducks and wild ducks.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

 

 

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Fall Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #7 Tuesday PM

We’re arriving to the end of the program and working to build final connections to support the big question of our inquiry project, “How do plants and animals prepare for winter?” The ideas, questions, and thoughts are really flowing and we have seen huge growth in scientific thinking skills. Our Wonder Wall becomes the place where we make the learning visible to the children to support memory recall of past experiences in order to build connections and create new understandings. We’ve been referring to the Wonder Wall as we gather these past few weeks, as it is in these past weeks that all we’ve been learning really begins to come together. We invite you to take some time to visit the Wonder Wall at the program conclusion next week!

To sign in this week, we wrote a letter from our name on the scute of a turtle’s back. We voted for silo or tractor and will likely end up visiting both next week, as many were curious about both! We had an experiment set up to explore the properties of wool and feathers with observation and discussion on what happens when water drips onto these animal coverings. One child stated, “It beads.” We wondered why? We observed that water and oil separate when we shake them in a tube. We’ll continue to explore what is going on and how animals stay warm and dry as the season transitions to winter. We also sang and danced to the Tollgate version of the song, “Oh, Fall is Here.”

We gathered to take out Coltrane, a red-bellied cooter turtle, for some hands-on time, a first for many! We made observations about his anatomy and how he moves. We thought about his habitat and his needs, which include water, rocks, and a heat lamp. We felt his shell and his feet, head, and tail. We noticed his body was cool compared to ours and the other mammals on the farm. We learned he is cold-blooded and figured out that the heat lamp keeps him warm and the rocks help him climb up to dry out. What do wild turtles do to survive the winter? How could we find out? These are additional questions we could explore and this is a wonderful component of inquiry-based learning on a farm. The opportunities for learning and discovery are endless and equally fascinating for both teachers and children!

It was then time to head outside for a hike to the Animal Barn. We stopped to chat about turtles and how wild turtles survive the winter with Mr. Tim and Mr. Gary and also enjoyed an apple juggling show! Further down the lane, we sang our “Hunt the Cows!” song. You can expect to learn it as well next week! At the barn we met Bear, a young North Country Cheviot breed of sheep, born in the spring. A sheep named Bear? That is silly! We felt Bear’s wool and marveled at its thickness. We observed sheep behavior and compared it to the behavior of goats. How is their behavior different? Farm Sprouts should have some thoughts to share with you! We stopped to spend time with our rabbits as well, noting their soft fur and how it compared to Bear’s wool. We also may have spotted a few goats. 😉

Back at the Activity Center, we documented our thinking about animal coverings as we prepared our snack, baked sweet potatoes grown right here at MSU Tollgate Farm by our Sustainable Agriculture program. We served them with butter, sea salt, and Tollgate maple syrup. Yum! Most gave them a taste and some gobbled them down in their entirety! While we were eating, we read the book Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow. Farm Sprouts were really interested in the different leaves and enjoyed matching the leaves to the trees. This book inspired some great leaf hunting near the pond!

After filling our bellies, we turned to a project. Farm Sprouts felted and dyed wool into bracelets to take home as a memento from the season next week. Some of us documented our ideas about animal coverings and we “cooked” with corn in the sensory table.

Lastly, we headed out on a big adventure hike, which included crossing a waterfall and exploring the north end of the pond. There are some really fascinating trees to discover at the farm! We spotted Canadian geese and ducks, including both our farm ducks and wild ducks.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

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Fall Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #7 Tuesday AM

We’re arriving to the end of the program and working to build final connections to support the big question of our inquiry project, “How do plants and animals prepare for winter?” The ideas, questions, and thoughts are really flowing and we have seen huge growth in scientific thinking skills. Our Wonder Wall becomes the place where we make the learning visible to the children to support memory recall of past experiences in order to build connections and create new understandings. We’ve been referring to the Wonder Wall as we gather these past few weeks, as it is in these past weeks that all we’ve been learning really begins to come together. We invite you to take some time to visit the Wonder Wall at the program conclusion next week!

To sign in this week, we wrote a letter from our name on the scute of a turtle’s back. We voted for silo or tractor and will likely end up visiting both next week, as many were curious about both! We had an experiment set up to explore the properties of wool and feathers with observation and discussion on what happens when water drips onto these animal coverings. One child stated, “It beads.” We wondered why? We observed that water and oil separate when we shake them in a tube. We’ll continue to explore what is going on and how animals stay warm and dry as the season transitions to winter. We also sang and danced to the Tollgate version of the song, “Oh, Fall is Here.”

We gathered to take out Coltrane, a red-bellied cooter turtle, for some hands-on time, a first for many! We made observations about his anatomy and how he moves. We thought about his habitat and his needs, which include water, rocks, and a heat lamp. We felt his shell and his feet, head, and tail. We noticed his body was cool compared to ours and the other mammals on the farm. We learned he is cold-blooded and figured out that the heat lamp keeps him warm and the rocks help him climb up to dry out. What do wild turtles do to survive the winter? How could we find out? These are additional questions we could explore and this is a wonderful component of inquiry-based learning on a farm. The opportunities for learning and discovery are endless and equally fascinating for both teachers and children!

It was then time to head outside for a hike to the Animal Barn. On the way, we sang our “Hunt the Cows!” song. You can expect to learn it as well next week! At the barn we met Bear, a young North Country Cheviot breed of sheep, born in the spring. A sheep named Bear? That is silly! We felt Bear’s wool and marveled at its thickness. We observed sheep behavior and compared it to the behavior of goats. How is their behavior different? Farm Sprouts should have some thoughts to share with you! We stopped to spend time with our rabbits as well, noting their soft fur and how it compared to Bear’s wool.

Back at the Activity Center, we prepared our snack, baked sweet potatoes grown right here at MSU Tollgate Farm by our Sustainable Agriculture program and served with butter, sea salt, and Tollgate maple syrup. Yum! Most gave them a taste and some gobbled them down in their entirety! While we were eating, we read the book Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow. Farm Sprouts were really interested in the different leaves and enjoyed matching the leaves to the trees. This book inspired some great leaf hunting near the pond!

After filling our bellies, we turned to a project. Farm Sprouts felted and dyed wool into bracelets to take home as a memento from the season next week. Some of us documented our ideas about animal coverings and we “cooked” with corn in the sensory table.

Lastly, we headed out on a big adventure hike, which included crossing a waterfall and exploring the north end of the pond. There are some really fascinating trees to discover at the farm! We spotted Canadian geese and ducks, including both our farm ducks and wild ducks.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

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Fall Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #6 Wednesday PM

The weather shifted this week to damp and cool, but it didn’t keep us from heading out into the forest! Today we help our traditional “Forest Day,” a highlight of the season for many. We dedicate an entire day to exploring in the forest because it takes our legs a while to hike out there and back. By now, Farm Sprouts who are newer to our farm community have developed a stronger sense of place. This is an important step in becoming environmentally literate. Once children become familiar and knowledgeable about a place, they can move towards feeling a sense of ownership and eventually a sense of stewardship within their community. These early years are the perfect time to expose them to a place they can grow to love and appreciate. We value and appreciate the opportunity to provide Tollgate as one of these special places in your child’s life!

We signed in today by writing the first letter of our names or full name on a “tree cookie,” a slice of a tree, with chalk. We voted for squirrels or woodpeckers, two wild animals that eat nuts. We decorated binoculars to help us spot interesting discoveries. Farm Sprouts also had the opportunity to “pound a pumpkin” utilizing a hammer and nails. How do pumpkins grow? Life cycle cards helped guide us in thinking about how the bright, orange pumpkin ended up in our classroom. Large tree cookies and other tree objects were available for exploration at our discovery table. Farm Sprouts loved taking turns creating and then viewing each other’s puppet shows.

We gathered to prepare popcorn grown at Tollgate for a snack in the forest. Our discussion before heading out included: What kinds of plants and animals might we discover in the forest? How do trees prepare for winter? Who eats seeds? We read The Looking Book by P.K. Hallinan to think about perspective, an important skill to develop as a part of systems thinking. Many thanks to Joan Hess and Sue Grady and their families for the donation of the book and glasses! We thought about the difference between binoculars, glasses, and magnifying glasses to help us see the world in different ways. We then struck out to hike to the forest to practice our new “looking” skills and to explore these questions more deeply.

Today we formed buddies for our journey into the forest. On the way, we said, “Hello!” and “¡Hola!” to our horses (caballos), cows (vacas), and the visiting geese. In the forest, we challenged Farm Sprouts to find a giant-sized leaf, a tiny leaf, different colored leaves, maple seeds, or other nuts and seeds. Gathering natural materials by size and shape and sorting them are an integral part of developing early mathematical thinking. We talked about beech and maple trees and tried to identify them by looking at the bark and leaves. We also observed a moment of silence, to focus on our sense of hearing, but mostly heard the road. We did find samaras (maple tree seeds) and touched on collecting sap and how we make syrup at Tollgate. We found interesting holes and possible animal homes in stumps and trees. Farm Sprouts were super interested in the shelters. We visited many and came across a giant fallen tree, which we observed for some time. We heard birds for the first time in the forest this week. Some of us became really interested in picking out the different birch and maple trees by looking at the bark. One Farm Sprout made the connection that Meadowbrook sounds like Ms. Brooke. 🙂

To conclude the day, we enjoyed our popcorn with Tollgate maple syrup for dipping. Yum! We really enjoyed this tasty, sweet treat and showed our gratitude to the trees for producing it for us. We documented our discoveries in our journals. We munched and enjoyed listening to the book, Trout Are Made of Trees, by April Pulley Sayre. It is a neat story that explores systems and the interconnectedness of plant and animal life, including fish, insects, leaves, and trees!

“Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great antagonist Winter. In the bare trees and twigs what a display of muscle.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

 

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Fall Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #6 Wednesday AM

The weather shifted this week to damp and cool, but it didn’t keep us from heading out into the forest! Today we help our traditional “Forest Day,” a highlight of the season for many. We dedicate an entire day to exploring in the forest because it takes our legs a while to hike out there and back. By now, Farm Sprouts who are newer to our farm community have developed a stronger sense of place. This is an important step in becoming environmentally literate. Once children become familiar and knowledgeable about a place, they can move towards feeling a sense of ownership and eventually a sense of stewardship within their community. These early years are the perfect time to expose them to a place they can grow to love and appreciate. We value and appreciate the opportunity to provide Tollgate as one of these special places in your child’s life!

We signed in today by writing the first letter of our names or full name on a “tree cookie,” a slice of a tree, with chalk. We voted for squirrels or woodpeckers, two wild animals that eat nuts. We decorated binoculars to help us spot interesting discoveries. Farm Sprouts also had the opportunity to “pound a pumpkin” utilizing a hammer and nails. How do pumpkins grow? Life cycle cards helped guide us in thinking about how the bright, orange pumpkin ended up in our classroom. Large tree cookies and other tree objects were available for exploration at the discovery table.

We gathered to prepare popcorn grown at Tollgate for a snack in the forest. Our discussion before heading out included: What kinds of plants and animals might we discover in the forest? How do trees prepare for winter? Who eats seeds? We read The Looking Book by P.K. Hallinan to think about perspective, an important skill to develop as a part of systems thinking. Many thanks to Joan Hess and Sue Grady and their families for the donation of the book and glasses! We thought about the difference between binoculars, glasses, and magnifying glasses to help us see the world in different ways. We then struck out to hike to the forest to practice our new “looking” skills and to explore these questions more deeply.

Today we formed buddies for our journey into the forest. On the way, we said, “Hello!” and “¡Hola!” to our horses (caballos), cows (vacas), and the visiting geese. In the forest, we challenged Farm Sprouts to find a giant-sized leaf, a tiny leaf, different colored leaves, maple seeds, or other nuts and seeds. Gathering natural materials by size and shape and sorting them are an integral part of developing early mathematical thinking. We observed a moment of silence to focus on our our sense of hearing, but mostly heard the road. We did find samaras (maple tree seeds) and touched on collecting sap and how we make syrup at Tollgate. Farm Sprouts were very interested in collecting items from nature in baskets and discovered a millipede. They had fun balancing on a log, a great way to use their bodies in a different way as a part of physical development.

To conclude the day, we enjoyed our popcorn with Tollgate maple syrup for dipping. Yum! We really enjoyed this tasty, sweet treat and showed our gratitude to the trees for producing it for us. We documented our discoveries in our journals. We munched and enjoyed listening to the book, Trout Are Made of Trees, by April Pulley Sayre. It is a neat story that explores systems and the interconnectedness of plant and animal life, including fish, insects, leaves, and trees!

“Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great antagonist Winter. In the bare trees and twigs what a display of muscle.” – Henry David Thoreau

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