Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Last Open House Post: Our Discovery Center

I just returned from a wonderful long weekend in and around the Santa Cruz mountains.  What an amazing place!  My family and I went on a great hike where I collected things for my discovery center.

"What is your discovery center?" you ask.  It's a long counter where kids get to explore things.  There are no directions, requirements, or rules (except you must stay safe) and children are allowed to explore and "discover" all sorts of things.  I even have a child size lab coat that a colleague gave me!  :)

Our flower pots have lima beans growing in them.  
 You can find our flowerpot template to grow lima beans by clicking HERE or on the photo above.

Tiny sprouts we grew from seeds.

At the beginning of the year, I filled the discovery center with non-living scientific items to explore like magnets, tubs of water, and lots of things to explore.  Students discovered which things floated and which things didn't, which things were attracted to magnets and which things weren't.

They also had tools; lots of tools.  I set out magnifying glasses, rulers, balance scales, cups for pouring, cups for sorting, shaker jars for listening, colored glasses for looking, and lots of things for touching.

At this time of year, I have bird nests, wasp nests (empty), leaves, pine cones, rocks, plants, and ladybugs ready to hatch in our ladybug enclosure.
At the end of the day, we reflect and write about something we did in our class journal.  The students come up with the sentences (which get more complex as the year goes on) and I write them.  Find our Daily Journal HERE.

So, while I was vacationing with my family, I still had my "teacher eyes" looking for things to share with my class.  They loved the wasp nests I brought back, the lichens, and the leaves.  I had them smell the forest today as they sniffed at the tiny branches of redwood trees that I collected from the ground.  They were so excited to get these treasures, you would have thought I brought them back a new iPad for the class!    Do you have a discovery center too?  What's in your center?

1 comment:

  1. LOVE THIS! I do one of these but not to this extent! I'm going to try and up my game with it this year! Thanks for the inspiration!