With the start of the fall, we have introduced many new activities that highlight the various elements of the fall season. In science we have been studying plants and trees. We have cards that demonstrate the different parts of the leaf, tree, and root. We conducted our second science experiment to learn about how water moves within a plant. We placed white daisies in various vases, each filled with red, blue, yellow, or orange water. The stem of one daisy was split into two, with one side going to red water and the other going to yellow. We patiently waited to see what would happen to the white petals. Slowly we started to see small hints of the colored water on the tips of the daisies. While our split daisy didn’t demonstrate two different colors on its petals like we had anticipated, we were able to see the colored water traveling up the stem. We then discussed that in a tree, the trunk is the large stem that carries water to the branches and leaves. We also talked about how the shorter days in autumn cause many trees to store food, resulting in the leaves changing colors and eventually falling. To highlight the roots on a plant, we took pinto and black-eyed beans and germinated them in baggies with wet paper towels. We observed how they slowly started to sprout, revealing their roots for the children to study. The children were so excited to see how their tiny beans would change each day!

We have also been working with pumpkins in our room. We introduced pumpkin scrubbing in our practical life area. This activity involves collecting water, washing, scrubbing, rinsing, drying the pumpkin, and then preparing the activity to make it ready for the next person. Our classroom also has its own larger pumpkin, which the children voted to name Jack. We compared Jack to our much smaller scrubbing pumpkin and discussed how to measure round items. We learned about circumference and the children estimated how long they thought a piece of yarn needed to be to go around Jack. At the end of the morning we then measured Jack to find that he is 30 inches round, while our smaller pumpkin is 15 inches. We also began working with a classroom scale to begin learning about weight. We compared Jack’s weight before and after carving.

Our art area has been very popular this month. We introduced our large collage box with seasonally colored papers, confetti, straws, pom-poms, and more. The children love cutting and gluing these pieces to create their own unique collages. We also had a loose parts activity used to make faces. Using buttons, gemstones, yarn, beads, googly eyes, and more, the children created colorful and silly faces. This tied in with studying our own faces to make self-portraits. We read The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz. In this book, a child observes all the beautiful colors of the people around her and compares them to things like chocolate cupcakes, butterscotch, and honey. The children used skin-colored crayons to identify the color they felt most represented their skin color and drew their portraits, which are now a beautiful display in our classroom.

Our Explorers visited the Miksch House in Old Salem. There they learned about a young girl named Martha that lived there and grew up in Old Salem. We will continue to follow Martha’s story as we visit more sites in Old Salem. They also visited the Single Brothers house and learned about the various trades taught there. In the classroom, Explorers practiced making large numbers, through the thousands, with our golden bead materials. For example, when given the number 1,462, the child gathers 2 unit beads, 6 ten bars, 4 hundred squares, and 1 thousand cube to concretely see quantity and place value. We also started a longer sewing project which we will be working on for a few weeks.

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