It was a great work week at nature kindergarten. Besides more practice sessions for the Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin's Birdathon, the introduction of a new service project for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, and more work with our six-legged insect friends, we set up a new outdoor learning spot and planted over one hundred pine saplings.
With outdoor stations on the horizon, I'm always looking to make some of the outdoor spots a little more user-friendly. One area I've always thought about incorporating onto outdoor stations is an open area between two fallen tress in our wooded area. When my neighbor lopped down his backyard tree and chopped it up into beautiful sections, it wasn't long before I was able to take those stumps and set up this area, with the help of my class of course.
The kids love the new space. They even found a few seeds to join them.
Later in the week, we discussed insects in winter. We researched what happens to insects in winter and came up with four possible scenarios.
- Hibernate, like our friends the Woolly Bears
- Migrate, like Monarch Butterflies
- Die, but leaving eggs behind
- Hiding - the kids favorite option
Since they liked the hiding aspect and we have an abundance of goldenrod galls, we investigated galls to see if any of the larva had already escaped. :)
Then, we went on an insect search. Turns out that insects are incredible hiders. Luckily, we found plenty of worms and spiders, a perfect lead in to a review of what makes an insect and the following discussion about why our animal discoveries were not insects.
We also previewed an activity scheduled for the following day, searching for pine saplings. f the nearly sixty or so, planted in this area. we found thirty-three still standing. With this area butting u against the are behind our school decimated for development, it will be nice to hopefully created a new little forest that buffers our space from the noise and distractions that will inevitable arise from development.
In our indoor work, we continued to add to our Insect Investigations Board. Lots of new learning and more and more questions and wonderings!
As mentioned above, we also had a planned activity with some of our 4th grade buddies. With the 4th grade social studies curriculum focused on the state of Wisconsin, my 4th grade teacher memories reminded me that the DNR had a program where each 4th grade student could get a sapling.
With the help of 4t grade students and teachers, we planted about 125 pine saplings. We got muddy, found worms, and had a lot of fun in the process.
Old Man Winter is playing a late April Fool's trick on us all, dumping inches of snow all over the land. Hopefully, this will act as a nice blanket for the saplings. While the snow is pretty, it will postpone the outdoor stations schedule I planned on starting this upcoming week. Oh well, I am sure we will find a way to enjoy the snow instead.