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Book: Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins (Scholastic)
Materials: laminated leaves, hand magnifying lenses
Press leaves till dry, then laminate a variety of leaves onto cards (card stock weight). Mount several of each kind of leaf. Students will sort leaves by color, number of leaf points, outside shape of leaf (heart shaped, star shaped, fan shaped, circular, toothed, lobed), and veins (branched, parallel, alternate). To facilitate sorting, one card could be labeled with the name of the plant from which the leaf was taken.
Book: Look What I Did with a Leaf! (Walker and Company)
Materials: fresh leaves, peeled crayons, blank paper
Lay a leaf under a sheet of blank paper (newly picked leaves work the best), then rub a peeled crayon over the top. Remind students that holding the crayon lengthwise (horizontally) on the paper creates the most detailed rubbings. After students become adept at making leaf rubbings, they enjoy creating leaf creatures by laying several leaves down to make arms, legs, ears, etc. Leaf creatures can be made by making a rubbing or cutting out rubbings and gluing them together.
Water Trough Boats
Books: Who Sank the Boat? and Mr. Archimedes’ Bath by Pamela Allen
Materials: tub of water, a variety of lids, counting bears, pieces of tin foil to create boats, items to place in buckets of water
Students experiment with each lid to see how many bears it will hold before tipping over. After comparing boats, the child takes a piece of tin foil and creates the shape of boat he thinks will hold the most counting bears. Children compare boats and the number of bears each boat holds. Water can also be placed in a bucket. Children mark the water level as they place various objects in the water. Students explore displacement.
Materials: trough with water basters, plastic flexible tubing, water wheels, siphons, hose, clamps, etc.
The water trough provides opportunities for tactile enjoyment such as pouring and squirting. Students observe the flow of the water and explore how it moves through flexible tubing, and the correlation of tube height to water flow.
Sink and Float
Books: What Will Float?; Is It Floating; Floating and Sinking (Wright Group); Sink or Float (Harcourt Science)
Materials: offer a variety of objects (baby toys, wooden blocks,
medicine bottles, containers, clips, rocks, oil clay, beads, spools, etc.) to
experiment with the water trough
Books: Seeds, Seeds, Seeds (Wright Group); Where Are The Seeds? by Wright Group; Fruits and Seeds (Creative Teaching Press)
Materials: collect seeds from plants and trees (fruit, nuts, burrs, umbrella seeds, pods, beans, peas, dried corn, milkweed, chestnuts, poppy-seed pods, apricot pits, peach pits), a piece of velcro—to compare with the burrs, hand lenses, microscope, or jewelers loop Students examine seeds, compare size, texture, hardness, and predict how they might travel. Students might identify some seeds by name, write labels, or draw representations of seeds and the plants they might grow into.
Books: The Water Cycle (Capstone)
Materials: snow, trough, molds, mittens, gloves, paper cups
Fill trough with snow and encourage students to mold, shape, and explore snow.
Ice and Water
Books: Water As a Solid, Water As a Liquid (Capstone)
Materials: ice cubes, chunks of ice, or icicles
Books: Mouse Paint
Materials: eye droppers, sytrofoam egg cartons, food coloring, water, blank cards, markers
Provide eyedropper, cups of water with food coloring added: red, yellow, and blue, white egg cartons with lids removed to make them more stable on the table.
Note: perm squeeze bottles are also fun to use with either colored water or as squirters to “write” on the sidewalk outside.
Materials: Combine one cup liquid or powder detergent, two cups water, and one tablespoon sugar.
Cover solution and store several days before using. This makes an inexpensive but effective bubble solution. Add bubble wands, cans with both ends opened, canning jar rings, berry baskets, etc. Thread two drinking straws on a loop of string to make an interesting bubble wand. Bubble solution may be poured into a wading pool outside. Then seat a student on a chair in the wading pool and use a hula-hoop as a bubble wand to create a child in a bubble!
Experiments with Dissolving
Materials: salt, sugar, pepper, flour, corn starch, bicarbonate soda, cups of water, spoons
Students predict which items will dissolve in water. Students stir ingredients into cups of water then observe and describe how well they dissolve in water.