Traveling Seeds – Activities

FOCUS: After a plant flowers and produces fertile seeds, those seeds must still find a spot to grow. We’ll see what the inside of a seed looks like, how it holds all that is necessary for a new plant to grow, and explore outside to see the many different seeds we can find and the ways they move from place to place.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about seeds.

Give a variety of seeds and seed heads to children to examine in small groups, and ask what similarities and differences they notice.

Materials: a variety of seeds and seed heads, magnifying lenses.

PUPPET SHOW “Travel Agents”
Objective: To obtain information about some of the seed dispersal strategies that are important in a plant’s life cycle.

Perform the puppet show, or have a group of children perform it for the class. Afterward, ask questions to review the key details and vocabulary in the story. What do we mean by “seed dispersal”? (Traveling.) Why do seeds travel? (To reach a suitable habitat free of competition from the parent.) Hold up the puppets one by one and ask how the character got around. Use the How Seeds Travel poster to show examples of the different ways that seeds disperse.

Materials: puppets, script, stage, props, brown pompom for burdock burr; How Seeds Travel poster.

SEED  SAFARI
Objective: To collect and observe a variety of seeds and seed heads outdoors, looking for evidence of seed dispersal strategies.

Have the children work in small groups and provide each with a paper bag for collecting seeds. With their groups, children will collect a variety of seeds from their schoolyard. Continue reading Traveling Seeds – Activities

Traveling Seeds – Puppet Show

Travel Agents

Characters: Benjy Bear, Mitch Milkweed Seed, Clara Cranberry, Bertie Burdock, Sally Squirrel.

Props: Brown pompom for burdock burr, basket of acorns prop

Benjy Bear  Gee, it’s a breezy fall morning.

Look at all this fluffy stuff in the air. Here’s a bit of fluff caught on a branch.

Mitch Milkweed  I’m not just a bit of fluff. I’m a traveling seed.

Bear  Oh, I seed what you mean. But what’s all that fluffy white hair for? Continue reading Traveling Seeds – Puppet Show

Traveling Seeds – Standards

TRAVELING SEEDS ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS

The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Traveling Seeds – Standards

Birds on the Wing – Background

As days get shorter and cooler in the fall, birds that stay year-round begin preparing for a long, cold winter, while others get ready to migrate. Both face challenges that seem daunting for such slight creatures. Yet birds continually amaze us with their ability to survive the harshest weather, travel incredible distances, and navigate to faraway places.

Some birds are permanent residents, living year-round in one place, while others migrate twice a year, traveling between winter homes and summer breeding ranges. Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Background

Birds on the Wing – Activities

FOCUS: Some birds migrate thousands of miles to find the food and shelter they need in winter, but other birds stay right here through the cold months. Which birds migrate and which birds stay? Birds that migrate face many challenges on their journeys, and those that stay here must cope with cold weather, shorter days, and a diminished food supply. All birds must survive this critical stage of their life cycles in order to raise families in the spring.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore bird migration.

Show a picture or video of a flock of migrating geese and a picture of chickadees in a winter tree. Ask children to tell you what might be going on in each photo.

Materials: photo or video of migrating geese, photo of chickadees in a winter tree.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Objective: To model the connection between diet and migration.

Hand out a Food for Thought card to each child or pair of children. Put up two signs at opposite ends of the room, one saying “Stay” and the other, “Migrate.”Explain that they must all pretend to be birds and that the card shows a clue about their bird (its normal food). Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Activities

Birds on the Wing – Puppet Show

Orville’s First Flight

Characters: Orville Oriole, Chelsea Chickadee, Wilbur Wood Thrush, Storm Cloud.

Props: suitcase prop, sign saying “That Evening,” cookie sheet for thunder, palm tree prop.

Orville Oriole Mmm, there’s a bug, yum! I know I’m putting on weight, but this cold weather’s making me ravenous. I wonder when it’s going to warm up.

Chelsea Chickadee  Warm up? Orville Oriole, you mean cool down, don’t you? Another month and there’ll be snow on the ground and ice in the ponds. Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Puppet Show

Birds on the Wing – Standards

BIRDS ON THE WING ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS

The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Standards

Winter Ways – Background

The ever-changing cycle of seasons is one of the pleasures of living in a temperate climate. From the emergence of tender life in spring and the abundance of summer, to autumnal ripening followed by the long, cold winter, each season has its unique conditions. Survival demands that plants, animals, fungi, and even bacteria are adapted to survive all the seasons, and, for most, winter is the most difficult. This might seem obvious, but the implications are important.

Because of the tilt of the northern hemisphere away from the sun in the winter, we experience shorter days and lower temperatures, often below the freezing point of water. Continue reading Winter Ways – Background