1 class periods of 30 minutes each
This is a Unit. Do each activity on separate days. Students observe the changes in our environment during the spring.
They use their sense of touch, sight, hearing and smell to investigate their
surroundings. Students discuss how a shadow forms, how large rocks become
smaller rocks, and finally learn the different parts of a plant. Consider using non fiction books read outside; Look What I did with a Leaf? by Morteza E. Sohi and Red Leaf Yellow Leaf and Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Intended Learning Outcomes
- Framing questions. Conducting investigations. Collecting data.
- Developing social interaction skills with peers. Sharing ideas with
peers. Connecting ideas with reasons.
- Ideas are supported by reasons. Communication of ideas in
science is important for helping to check the reasons for ideas.
Pre-lab discussion: Show the students a picture of a tulip (or whatever spring
flower they will find outside) and tell them they are going on a tulip hunt. Ask
them if they see tulips all summer long or in just a special season. Take them
outside and begin the spring nature walk.
Instructional Procedures: Take the students outside for this activity.
- Group the students sitting down outside. Ask the students what season it is
and what they would expect to see the plants, trees and animals doing in this
season. Have them close their eyes and use their sense of smell, feeling, and
hearing to identify signs of spring. Discuss the smell of flowers and plants, the
feeling of sun on their faces, and if they hear any insects or birds.
- Find an area with buds on trees. Discuss how flowers on trees form before
the leaves on the trees do. Explain that flowers will turn into seeds or fruit. On
the tree identify the flower, trunk, branches, and any leaves that can be found.
- Have the students find the spring flowers. Explain that these are the first
flowers that form in the spring but they will soon die at the end of spring and not
live through the summer. On the spring flower, identify the flower, leaves, and
- Look at the trees and notice what is happening. The leaves are just starting
to bud. Look at evergreen trees and realize they haven't changed over the
season. But you should see some new needles added. Find areas on the end of
the branches where new growth is occurring.
- Have the students stand on the concrete. Have them notice their shadow.
Ask them how a shadow is formed. Explain that when we block the sun we see
our shadow. Look at shadows that formed from the building, houses, fences, or
whatever other shadows may be found in the area.
- Ask the students to feel how warm their body feels in the sun then move into
a well shaded area and ask them if they feel as warm. Explain that in the shade,
not all the sun's energy can reach our skin and it feels cooler. Go back and forth
from sun to shade and have students identify the difference.
- Find some soil that has different sized particles. Use your foot to smash the
pieces into smaller pieces. Explain that larger rocks are broken down into
smaller rocks. These smaller rocks eventually get broken down into our soil.
- Bring the students back together as a group and discuss the main signs of
spring: spring flowers, buds on trees, birds calling to each other as they ready
their nests, and warming temperatures.
Rio Tinto Hands-on Science Curriculum Team
- Ms. Rae Louie -- Administrator, Principal Beacon Heights Elementary
- Emily Mortensen -- Grant writer, teacher outreach, 2nd grade teacher at Beacon Heights Elementary
- Ruth Li -- Curriculum design, K-6 Science Educator at Indian Hills Elementary
- Deirdre Straight -- Curriculum development, K-6 Science Educator at Beacon Heights Elementary
- Tim Rausch -- Website development, Library Media at Beacon Heights Elementary