We’re going to squeeze every last bit of summer fun into August! This month is traditionally one of transition, as the “old” class gets ready to say goodbye to the preschool home they’ve known, some since infancy. This summer, it’s a bit different as we didn’t even know we were saying goodbye to six of our family of friends in March, and kindergarten will look very different for those kids and the three that are here in class. Nevertheless, the strategy of keeping the classroom full of engaging learning remains the same.
Last week, we ended our exploration of the pond by learning about ducks. First we played with clean “mud” made with corn starch, flour, and water- getting some toy ducks stuck in the mud!
We learned that ducks keep their feathers waterproof and their bodies buoyant with oil, and we tested it out with baby oil, cotton balls, and water.
The weather was warm and sunny all week, perfect for the solar oven I promised to make way back in June. (I made it by following the youtube link in the lesson plans, if you want to try it. Very easy. I used a shoe box) We cooked in the oven every day, making s’mores, pizza crackers, cheesy nachos and beginning a mini-obsession with melting old crayons into multi-colored cupcake crayons.
On Friday, we painted some paper with sunscreen to see if it would protect our paper the way it protects our skin, and we laid out some blocks to make sun prints. The kids just love any kind of experiment where we “test” something and see the result.
This week, we began our month-long unit on outer space, beginning with learning about weather, clouds and air. We talked about our favorite types of weather on Monday, and tested how pinecones protect their seeds from water by closing up tight when it rains. Very cool!
From the book Air is All Around Us, we learned the earth has an atmosphere (a big word we sounded out) that protects us the way an orange peel protects an orange. It allows air to stay near the planet, which in turn allows life. We did some experiments with trapping air in water to show how air is there, even though we can’t see it. The weather this week gave us some spectacular clouds to observe during recess, and we played around with cloud ideas by painting some with homemade puff paint and making cloud dough out of flour and baby oil.
A peek at the next two weeks: We will welcome Seth into our class and celebrate Isaac’s birthday next week. We’ll learn a lot about the moon and the planets in our solar system. The kids told me they also want to make some paper boats, so we’ll have supplies on hand for that too. The next week will be devoted to the idea of aliens and astronauts.