Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Timberwolf Trail - Week 26 - 2015-16 Edition

Has spring sprung? Based on today's temperatures, I'd say yes. Based on how much learning and excitement I saw in my forest kindergartners today, I hope it is here to stay.

Today, we investigated dirt and soil. Beginning  a settling "experiment," we ventured put to the garden to collect some garden soil and placing it in mason jars halfway filled with water. We then repeated the process out in the woods. We took the bottles inside to settle and will start comparing and contrasting soon.

We also repeated an activity from a few weeks back and used hand lenses to dig deeper into the forest floor. We shared actual examples of observations from our "sweeping" of the forest floor after reading a non-fiction story on dirt and soil. We love fun facts. Did you know that a land the size of a normal soccer field an have up to a million worms living underneath it at any given time?

Students love sharing their forest floor discoveries.
Our student teacher shared a story on soil.

During natural play time, many students ventured off to look at something they heard about in the story: that soil comes from broken down materials like trees and leaves. We went to the wood pile and we investigated different things at different stages of decomposition. The kids loved finding "squishy sticks."

Investigating a possible animal home

I happened to forget my phone inside. Since the phone acts as my watch on our outdoor excursions,  I used my lack of a clock to share the idea of a sundial with kids. We talked about "high noon," and how the sun moves across the sky. Kids chimed in about sunsets and "springing forward" this upcoming weekend.

Reviewing length and measurement, the students had a task. After finding a stuck, they were asked to line up as a  class arranging their sticks shortest to longest WITHOUT talking. We trues this two times and they nailed it the second time around after brainstorming some possible strategies.

We enjoyed some more stick fun in the afternoon. First we showed off our whole sticks.

Then, we broke our whole in half and showed our two halves.

Then, we repeated the process and showed off our fourths.  Who knew fractions could be so much fun?

And of course, to make sure all students were accounted for, we lined up and counted heads before re-entering the school. To make things more interesting, we used our outdoor voices to yell from 22 down to 0 as I worked my way down the line. Getting to yell in our outdoor voice really seems to help kids remember counting backwards. Too bad that wouldn't work as well inside.

It was a wonderful day of learning. While winter offered unique and diverse learning experiences, I am hoping we can test out more snow lessons next school year.

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