Kids Belong Outside
Kids belong outside. They were intended to get dirty, climb, swing, swim, crawl, run, and all the rest. Indeed, there's really little argument that all people belong in nature. We're creatures created for the natural (created) world. Learn how to return to a more simple life, embrace wholesome family values, and allow children to dig in the dirt, observe nature, and learn how to befriend a plant in this plant observation lesson plan. Then teach others how to get back to nature and befriend a plant. Perhaps you're a teacher or parent and work daily with kids. Give the below plant observation lesson plan a read a see what you thing. One things for certain, plants have much to teach!
(Note: while this was written for a classroom setting don't hesitate adapting it to your own particular situation, even if you just have a few kids.)
How to Befriend a Plant
TIME: 1.5 hours
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 6 - 13
ENVIRONMENT: An area outside containing plants.
OBJECTIVES: By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
- Recognize at least one plant in the woods or meadows.
- Sketch plants.
- Make observations of plants.
- Share observations and notable characteristics of plants.
1. Welcome the students to the activity. Ask who has ever grown a plant back home. If there are any students who have, ask them to share about it. Explain that you don’t have to plant a plant to get to know it, and that’s what we’re going to do today. We are going to get to know a plant that’s already growing.
2. Instruct each of the students to wander the property looking at plants. Have them each take a notebook and pencil. When they see a plant that intrigues them, for one reason or another, have them sketch it. Tell them not to worry about identifying it, simply sketch it. Things to look for in the sketch: is the plant large or small? Is it an herb or a tree? What is it that intrigues you about it? Are the leaves soft or hard? Would you want to sleep next to this plant?
3. Instruct the students to return to a decided upon meeting area after they have spent some thorough time with a plant. Tell them that if they are not back after 45 minutes the bell will ring, and at that time they should hurry back.
4. When the students have returned ask if any of them would like to share their sketch. Invite them share their responses to the questions in procedure step 2. Allow as many students share as care to.
5. Suggest to the students that they return to this plant on a daily basis in their personal time. Note how the plant changes with each day. Encourage them to do more sketches and record any observations of its changes. Also suggest that they look for more plants like the one they’ve sketched. Tell them that their plant is special, but there are likely many others around similar to it, that are the same species and perhaps genus.
6. Thank the students for their time and participation. Explain that they can look forward to a plant identification lesson to happen next week.
Evaluate students on how they spend their time during the plant hunt and sketch. When the return, look for their sketches. How eagerly do they share them? What are the depths of their reflections and responses to the questions in procedure step 2? Overall, do they seem to have connected with their plant?
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