Spring Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #4 (AM)

We’re making some interesting and important connections between the various plant and animal species found at Tollgate Farm as we develop an understanding of ecosystems. Today we chatted about worms, sharing what we know and what we wonder about them, during which a child posed the question, “Do they eat plants?” We’ll continue to explore the interconnectedness of nature and plant and animal life cycles in the coming weeks, from chicks to worms to plants!

We signed in by tracing worm trails this week and worked on setting up a “decomposition experiment.” Over the next few weeks, we will observe what happens to a variety of objects as they remain in a plastic bag filled with a scoop of soil. Farm Sprouts made predictions about what they think will happen. They chose from natural objects such as pieces of banana peel, egg shells, leaves, flowers, blueberries, pieces of asparagus, stones, bark, and carrots to add to their bags. Some predictions included the thought that what they placed in the bag might grow. Others were very unsure and wanted to think about it, which we’ll plan to do next Tuesday. And we always enjoy visiting and observing our classroom animals!

During our large group gathering, we returned to the discussion of how an egg becomes a chick. We cracked open two eggs and provided a mini-lesson on contour drawing to assist Farm Sprouts in documenting what they now know about eggs and embryology. We noticed the different parts of the egg, including the shell, yolk, and blastodisc, the white spot you can see on the yolk. This spot is where the embryo begins to develop. We also checked in our incubator and discovered with great excitement that a chick had begun the process of hatching by pecking out a triangle-shaped piece of shell. Next week we’ll see (and meet) the results of our incubator project! We also took a moment to meet a snail found one of our gardens, noticing his shell and feeling his foot, much different from the foot of a chicken!

In the Children’s Garden, we continued with our special art project. We also worked with sand, soil, water, and rubber worms in the sensory table and acted as worms with tents, tunnels, and tubes.

We then hiked out to the Educational Garden for a snack. We danced and acted as farmers and gardeners to the song, “In My Garden” by Raffi. Just as the song describes the process of how peas are grown, cared for and harvested to eat, we enjoyed eating or tasting sugar snap peas in the garden, as well as radishes. We met some of our smallest, but hardest, workers at the farm… our red wigglers from our vermicompost bin! We’ll work with them some more next week.

We hiked back to the Activity Center to close the day with a reading of the book, What will grow? by Jennifer Ward. This book offered many exciting connections to what we’ve been seeing, tasting, and doing at the farm, including sunflowers, dandelions, and peas!

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it is attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

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