Montessori Botany: the plant



Introducing the plant
Place a small houseplant on the shelf for observation. Introduce the potted plant to a group of children. Carry the plant around the group and allow every child to carefully observe the plant. Ask the children if they have noticed plants in their homes or outside. Encourage conversation about the plant concerning: color,  parts, texture, smell, size, etc.
Talk about the needs of the plant in comparison to other living things. "In order for the plant to stay alive, it needs to be cared for properly."
Show the children where the plant care material will be located (a watering can on a tray, with a sponge) in practical life. Show the children how to care for the plant: water it and place it in a sunny place. "The plant is a special living thing because it makes its own food from the sun."
  • Set up a watering schedule for the plants.
  • Encourage each child to bring a small plant from home to care for in the environment. Send a note home asking them to assist the child in purchasing a plant. Explain to them that their child will learn how to care for their plant throughout the year. Keep a record of who owns which plant, the name of the plant and plant care instructions.
  • Go on nature walks to observe plants outside the classroom
Introduce the parts of the plant the same week and incorporate a hands on lesson. Discuss the difference between inside plants and outside plants. Talk about how many different kinds of plants there are in the world. "A plant can be small as the one on the shelf or as large as the tree outside."
Material:
a small plant, a small bucket with water, a large piece of newspaper, a wet towel
Presentation:
Spread out the newspaper over your workspace. Place the potted plant to your left, place the bucket of water to the right of the bucket, and place the towel to the right of the bucket. Carefully remove the plant from the pot and gently shake off the soil. Talk about how the plant needs soil to stay grounded and takes nutrients from the soil through its roots. Use the water in the bucket to help remove the remaining soil from the roots. Use the damp towel to help preserve the roots when they are not in the soil. Transfer the plant while it is on the towel to a tray to be used in a three part card lesson using the cards below:
Definitions:
Plant Any living organism belonging to the vegetable kingdom
Root The part of the plant that grows into the ground. The root holds the plant in place and absorbs water and minerals from the soil
Stem The main part of the a plant above the ground. The stem supports the branches, flowers, etc.
Branches The parts of a plant that grow out from the stem.
Leaves The thin flat green parts of the plant that grow on the stem
parts of a plant salad:

Present the initial lesson to a group. Lay the labels out in a circle to represent the life cycle of a plant. Allow the children to touch and feel the whole fruit during this lesson. In the lessons to follow, in food prep the children can work with them more closely.
  • try to obtain fresh vegetables so the children can relate parts to whole.
  • In a group setting lay out all the parts cards in a circle. Hold up a food item and help the child classify it according to the card.
  • If you use dressing for the salad you can explain the ingredients to the children
  • In practical life , have the children prepare the vegetables for the salad to be served at lunch.
Serve the salad at lunch family style.

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