Sunday 19 August 2018

Learning About Plants - Grade 3 with the HBSCE Small Science curriculum

Learning about trees and plants is far from the boring exercise in regular schools.  With the Small Science curriculum, the entire learning for grade 3 is down outdoors - by examining trees and plants

After the nature walk in early August where children saw different kinds of trees, today, we have them examining plants more closely.

First they had to be blindfolded and examine different kinds of leaves.  The children touched, felt the texture, the size and edges of leaves. They crushed the leaf and smelled it. Using this information, they identified the leaf.  Most children easily identified Omum and Aloe vera.  Even Gulmohar was easy but they had forgotten the name. "Its the g,g,g one, Aunty!"  For some reason, they kept saying "Neem!" at the drop of a hat. I think that's the name they're familiar with, but haven't quite internalised the shape/ smell of the leaf. 

Then the children lined up to see how many children were needed to hug the large wild baadam on campus.  They stretched, tried their best, but none except one, could hug the tree by themselves. It took two children to hug the tree.  Some children were resistant to the idea of hugging a tree - they were chary of potential insects on the tree.  

Next, the children broke up into teams of 2 to examine the different kinds of barks.  They noticed how the three wild badaams on campus had different bark - one was quite rough and dark, while the other two were smooth and light coloured. "Why, Aunty?" "We'll have to find out." "Maybe this tree is older" thought one child.  The chidlren noticed how the bamboo bark was completely smooth. They had trouble identifying the colour of the bark as yellow or green or a mix.  

Finally the children had to find insects or plants on the trees.  They saw a crow's nest high up on the wild badaam. I showed them a neem where ants have made homes - large holes where the bark was completely eaten away.  The children saw a wasp, but not exactly on the tree. They saw a squirrel, crows and different kinds of ants.

The children recorded their observations in the Workbook.  At this stage some are struggling to read and comprehend the questions and require guidance. However, once they have understood what's being asked, they get down to the work, oblivious of the surroundings. 

The children love this class - their first introduction to the wonders of the Small Science program.

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