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Posts tagged ‘palm trees’

Coconut Tree

After about two weeks of investigations, sketching, and learning about the coconut tree.  The children wanted to represent their knowledge by creating two coconut palm trees in our classroom.  One child created the plan of how to make the coconut trees and what materials needed to be gathered to begin the representing.  Kara documented all of her ideas and then the child and I went into the storage room to gather the materials.

Once in the classroom, the children began the representing!  They started by building up blocks around the poles so that the children could reach the top of the poles.  The then used tan colored paper to cover both poles.  The children used fine motor skills and based on their abilities cut the tape with scissors, tore it, and/or helped a peer in this process.  During this process, several children worked on other tasks.  Some children worked on rolling model magic into small balls.  Another group, spent time rolling or painting the model magic brown.  A child (3.3 years old) spent time in the back of the room working with the green paper and had a book near him for reference.  Kara observed him for several minutes and then asked him what he was doing.  He shared he was making slits in the green paper to make the green paper look like the palm leaves in the book. 

A child who had been to Florida before remembered that coconuts and the bark of a coconut tree had a different texture to it.  The children decided to add a thick twine to our poles and some of our coconuts. 

You can encourage children to represent by offering them a treasure chest.  A treasure chest is a box of items that we use for representing.  We started by having the children add items they thought were important to creating various items.  We continue to add as our box becomes empty.  We have a list below but the opportunities are endless!  Please let us know what is in your treasure chest if you have started one!

Some items in our treasure chest include:

  • twine
  • string
  • bark
  • twigs
  • easter grass
  • burlap
  • wax paper
  • foil
  • wire

We continue investigating….

-AIH

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Coconut Investigation

Kara holds the coconut above the bowl as the coconut juice runs in.

After creating our knowledge and question web, the children shared stories about experiences they had with trees.  During this discussion, several children sketched palm trees.  More than half of the class had been to Florida in the last year and a discussion started to form about the trees they saw when at Disney World or when they were in Florida. 

We decided, based on the children’s interest, that we would begin learning about the Coconut Palm Tree.  The children began by reading books about Coconut Palm Trees and looking at pictures.  Through their investigations, they started to notice certain characteristics about the trees and they started creating representations in the form of sketches.  Our classroom had a coconut on our science shelf and a child noticed it.  They took it off the shelf and began to use their senses to explore it, “It is hard and I do not think anything is in it.”  The child then took it to every child asking them if they thought anything was inside the coconut.  The pictures we took involve children tapping it, shaking it, putting their ear up to it, and spinning it around in a circle.  After the children predicted what was is in it, they then decided to create a list of how they thought they could open the coconut.  Kara sat down with the children and documented their responses.  As she wrote their ideas down, she encouraged the children to offer sounds to the letters she was writing, spell a sight word or a vocabulary word (for example, tree and leaf), or identify letters in her writing.  After the list was created, the children hung it up.  They kept it hung up for an entire day and as children had ideas they were added to the list.

The following day, the children gathered their list, the materials they would need based on their list, and began to experiment.  They followed the list in numerical order until they made it to the one that opened the coconut which was the scissors.  Once inside the coconut from our shelf, the children found nothing inside!  For children who were not part of the investigation, the children who were brought their results to their peers to share.

The next day, Kara brought a store-bought coconut in the classroom.  This coconut was different from other ones we had seen.  It had a white outer shell which the children (and the teachers) predicted was the inside of the coconut.  We had predicted that the store had taken off the outer shell which we had cut into with the other shell.  We spent time measuring it, sketching it, and exploring it.  When the children were ready to open the coconut, they decided they needed to use scissors as that technique had worked for the last coconut.  The children used scissors and passed the coconut around the table.  With little help from Kara, the coconut was

The children are using tools to find out what is under the white covering of the coconut.

open.  “My hand got sticky!” a child exclaimed.  Another shared, “The coconut is dripping.”  A third child shared, “Wait!  I think there is something called coconut juice!’   Kara held the coconut over the bowl and the coconut emptied.  The children each had an opportunity to try it!  Some children did not like it, while others came for seconds!

After the juice emptied out, we discovered something.  The coconut ‘s white covering began to peel off.  We continued to peel off the white coating until we found a hollow brown circle.  We sketched what we had discovered!  We began sharing this knowledge with our families and friends!

Currently, our two different coconuts are sitting on a wood tray for exploration.  We also have  magnifying glasses in the tray so the children can observe, discover, and represent!

Share your investigations!  Anything that amazed you, you were inspired about, or have questions about!  We want to hear! 

Enjoy and keep inspiring!

-AIH

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