Sunday, January 25, 2009

Like Bees, They Gathered the Pollen

Last Thursday, in the middle of the night, I heard a loud crash. I was so tired I didn't get up as it sounded like something had fallen rather than someone trying to break-in. In the morning, I went into my office to check my email and there it was. My amaryllis had fallen over with the weight of its flowers and crashed to the floor. There was dirt everywhere. The stem was broken. I went to the kitchen, got a trash bag, returned to the scene and cut the flowers free from the corpse of the plant.

When I got to school, I took the flowers from the bag, placed them on trays and put them on two separate tables. I placed magnifying glasses besides them. The small felt case that holds the tweezers was also placed on one of the tables.

When the children arrived, I invited them to dissect the flowers. Two of the children immediately accepted my invitation. After a few minutes of carefully opening the petals to examine what was held within, they went and got some q-tips from the polishing area. Carefully, they gathered pollen onto the tips of the q-tips. They were very focused on their work.

While they continued their investigations, I put out a rug and laid out the "Parts of a Flower" classification cards. They soon came looking for the names of the various parts of the flowers.

Later, one child illustrated all of the sheets that match the "Parts of a Flower" classification cards.

This work did not last all morning. The first two children worked with it for about 45 minutes or so. When they walked away, another child engaged the work. He stayed for about 20 minutes. It did take the child who illustrated the booklet most of the morning to finish her work.

Just before I rang the bell to end the morning work period, I gathered the petals and botanical remains and threw them away. For a couple of hours the beauty of my amaryllis drew the attention of a few five and six year olds. What I love about the pictures above is how serious the children look and how careful they are handling the flowers. Perhaps, they are so interested because they are most often told not to touch flowers. I am sure that they are not often given q-tips to gather pollen. Perhaps, in that case, though, it is bees which warn them to stay back, to look but not touch. Living creatures can be so territorial.


My Boys' Teacher said...

Wow! That was fantastic, and good thinking. I wish I had seen this before all of the flowers fell off of mine.

Super great lesson.

MoziEsmé said...

I love how you made a memorable moment from a mess! Those flowers are great for dissecting...

lvma said...

Thank you so much for all of the time you put into this blog- I so enjoy reading each post.
I have a three year old in my class who can only sit for about a one to two minute presentation. Would you encourage him to stay for one of your longer presentations or let him find his work while you presented to the others? Just curious, thanks!

pattyannie said...

I was going to do this very same lesson today. We had an open house and their were lots of flowers left over. I decided to wait until Tuesday, so I can post pics on my website for the parents. This is one of my favorite presentations!

Susan Y. Dyer said...

Dear Ivma, I do let children who can not sit still that long find other work. I do this because I see them watching me from afar. And I know that they hear most or some of what I am saying. For me this serves all of the children.

pattieannie, good luck with your flower presentation tomorrow.

Susan Dyer
The Moveable Alphabet

My Child's Diary said...

Dear Susan,
Just wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for an award. You can read about it here -
Also, I am participating in the One World One Heart Giveaway - you are more than welcome to take a look...:)
Thank you!