June seemed like an ideal time to do a STEM Exploration Station on plants. I don’t have as many pictures of this station because I lost all of the digital pictures before I could write it up for this blog.
This center had a lot of separate parts. I made several cd cases of bean plants using an idea I had found online. I started them a few weeks before I knew I was going to put out the plant exploration station, so that they would already be growing when they were first put out to explore. I made a new one each week for several weeks running, so that children could follow the progress of the bean’s growth. I was a little worried that they would be shaken enough to disturb the plants or spill the dirt, but this was surprisingly not much of a problem. My general black thumb and total inability to remember to water them were a much bigger detriment to their health, but luckily beans are fairly hardy and they managed to limp through the month. Alongside the cd cases I placed magnifying glasses for children to use in their examinations.
In another observation activity, I picked and then laminated several plants, both flowering and nonflowering. The laminated plants stayed green for a surprisingly long time, and even after they had begun to wither a little they still retained their shape and most of their color. Magnifying glasses and signs encouraged the children to carefully observe each part of the plant’s shapes and designs.
Because I wanted an activity that would involve more than “just” observing, I also printed out and laminated pictures of familiar backyard plants that children may have encountered. Signs encouraged the children to sort the pictures in a number of ways: flowering and nonflowering plants, plants with specific colors, plants they had seen versus plants they’d never seen before, etc. I did not see this activity used as much as the general observation section of the table. I wish that I had thought to label the pictures on the computer before printing them out.
I also had a flower puzzle. I printed out the flower sequencing picture on page 7 of this homeschool site, laminated it and then cut it up so that preschoolers could put together the flower section and older children could use the word cards to label the parts of the flower.