First of all, many thanks to all of our family members, friends, neighbors, former families, current families and community members for supporting our Montessori Outdoor Science School this year. Your donations helped to pay for four science educators from the McCall Outdoor Science School to visit our school for five days and lead small group, hands-on inquiry based science lessons for our Maple Room students. Thanks from the bottom of our hearts!
So here are some photos of our classroom for today!
Today’s focus was on ecosystems, living and non-living, the cycle of life, and mostly, DECOMPOSITION! How does something go from living to non-living to part of the very dirt? This is what we wanted to find out. We collected piles of similar items – pine needles, leaves, pine cones, sticks – and arranged our collections from the freshest/most recently living to the oldest/most dead looking. What did we notice? As the items aged, they became more broken up, smaller, drier . . and more like dirt!
How did this happen? The items got smashed up from being stepped on, and drying out. We also went on the search for decomposers, the FBI of the natural world! Fungus, Bacteria and Invertebrates!
We also played some small group and large group games to explore decomposition and the life cycle process. In one game of chase, the catcher was the wolf. Most of the rest of the children were the herd of deer, and a few children were mushrooms, the decomposers. When a deer was caught by the wolf, and went down to the ground, the mushrooms swept in and began the work of decomposition, returning the deer to the earth, and providing a source of new life!
So today we learned by observing closely, by asking questions and discussing answers, by using magnifying glasses, by drawing what we saw, by playing games, by getting close to the dirt and even making art!
Outdoor science vocabulary I heard the children using today ~ decomposition, fungus, bacteria, invertebrate, process, ecosystem!