Well, today the rain that was forecast for the whole week finally came! We only ventured out to complete our weather forecast. And our young scientists predicted the weather accurately.
“Well, the sky is covered by a heavy blanket of grey cloud – nimbostratus clouds – that means continuous rain.”
“And there is almost no wind, so that means the rain is here to stay. There is no wind to blow the clouds away.”
That made it easier to relocate today’s planned activities to our classrooms. We spent some time looking at maps, and finding the places we had visited during the week. We also caught up on recording the birds we had noticed during the week. We had seen fourteen of the eighteen birds in our birding books, and the children could remember where and when we had spotted the birds.
“We saw the quail crossing the road yesterday on our walk to the park.”
“The hawk was on the pole by the bridge.”
“The violet-green swallows were on the island in the pond and under the bridge.”
As well as the birds in our birding book, we also saw crows, a wood duck and a heron.
We then divided into our groups to continue working on our research projects. We were mostly working on completing our tri-fold displays for our presentations scheduled for 1:00PM. There was a whole lot of writing, drawing, coloring, cutting, gluing and decorating going on. We also practiced verbally presenting the material.
We were so happy to have so many families show up to join us for our indoor picnic, followed by the presentations. We had parents and grand-parents, and siblings, so we had a full house! As teachers, we are so thankful for the awesome support we receive from our families.
So, what were the questions our students worked at answering using the scientific method?
- Are there fish in the ponds at Sunnyside Park. We found virtually no macro-invertebrates in the pond, so if there were fish in the pond, what did they eat?
- How many food webs can we observe at Sunnyside Park?
- Are there more animals at the big pond or the small pond at Sunnyside Park?
- How are bugs attracted to people?
Our students used many tools to answer their questions – fishing nets, binoculars, magnifying glasses, timers, clipboards, paper and pencils to record data. Some of them presented their data in tables or pie charts. Some of them used math skills, such as using addition and division to find an average. Each group successfully used science vocabulary such as hypothesis, prediction, materials, method, observations, data, results, and conclusion. I am so tickled to hear our students use words such as ‘prediction’ or ‘hypothesis’ in their daily conversations! As our presentations were put together under a time crunch, we absolutely accepted developmental spelling. As a teacher, I much prefer that a six to seven year old is unafraid to sound out hypothesis than all words are correctly spelled! ‘Hipothesis’ is a very close approximation to the correct spelling, as is ‘qesten’. (Note to self – give lesson on ‘u’ after ‘q’ in most English spelling of words beginning with q. Give lesson on ‘ion’ spellings. This is how Montessori teachers work.)
So what were their conclusions?
- There are fish in the pond. We used oats as bait and almost caught some fish in our nets. The fish are surviving partly on food thrown into the pond to feed the ducks. There may be few macro-invertebrates because the fish eat them.
- The groups observed several food webs. They also noted that they saw more land food webs than aquatic food webs. This was due to poor water quality in the ponds and a lack of aquatic macro-invertebrates.
- There were a lot more animals observed at the big pond. There is more water and more food at the big pond, and the island in the big pond provides a safe habitat for many animals.
- Bugs use their senses, just like people do. Bugs are attracted by sight (color), smell (sweat, perfume, shampoo), taste (blood) and touch (body heat).
The kids really enjoyed using a microphone to make their presentations. The audience asked a lot of thought provoking questions. Everyone then spent time looking at the presentation boards. And so ended a very happy, positive and productive outdoor science week.
Thanks for following us throughout the week!