The children have been very eager to water our classroom plants! Every morning we put the plants down on a table, along with various cups, bowls and jars for the students to water with.
When we first began the daily watering routine, the children discussed amongst themselves how much water they felt the plant would need. They said things like:
· “Not too much (water) because then the plants can’t breathe”
· “Too much water will make the seeds move around”
· “The dirt has to be wet for the seed to get water”
They concluded their discussion, agreeing that we only need to moisten the dirt enough for the seed to get the proper amount of water.
Group input was also involved in the physical watering of the plants. Using such large cups to try and water the plants seemed to become a challenge for the children. They were constantly spilling the contents of their cup or jar all over the table. After spilling many cups of water, the children began to ask each other what they could do to stop the spilling.
As a result, we decided to introduce different cups with different sized holes at the top, spoons, straws and droppers to the children. We gave them the opportunity to test them all, allowing them to decide which watering tools would best reduce the amount of spilling. So far the children have enjoyed using the droppers the most, and are most excited to not have a single spill since we started with the droppers!
This experience allowed for a great deal of student initiated exploration and group discussion, which is very important in our philosophy. The discussion that the children conducted allowed them to practice conflict resolution and problem-solving skills. In sharing their opinions, the children gained a sense of self-confidence and learned to value the input of their peers and work as a team.
Having the opportunity to decide on their own which watering tool would be the best gave the children a sense of ownership over the daily task. It also encourages independence and self-expression while meeting each child’s individual needs regarding fine motor skills.
Along with practicing communication skills, the children were also encouraged to put some of their scientific knowledge to use. They used aspects of the scientific method as they made observations and formed hypotheses regarding the plants, and learned about the plant growth process.