Spring Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #4 (PM)

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. 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. One Farm Sprout said, “It will rot.” Others were very unsure and wanted to think about it, which we’ll plan to do next Tuesday. We also worked on assembling an egg with our felt board.

During our large group gathering, we returned to the discussion of how an egg becomes a chick. 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 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 also checked in our incubator and noted 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!

In the Children’s Garden, we continued with our special art project after releasing the snail. 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 harvested dill to make veggie dip for our Mini Garden Kitchen. We chopped radishes and had fun opening open sugar snap peas to munch on for our snack today.

After some nourishment, we hiked out to the Educational Garden to prepare a garden bed for transplanting our sunflowers to the greenhouse. 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 also enjoyed tasting and eating sugar snap peas. Some of us tried to catch pollinators with nets. We discovered wings are an effective way to evade predators! We had the chance to take a look at the farm’s smallest, yet probably hardest workers. Next week we’ll spend more time with these wiggly creatures.

We closed the day with a reading of the book, Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals. This book offered many exciting connections to what we’ve been seeing, tasting, and doing at the farm!

“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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