We learned about living and non-living things recently. We started out by discovering the characteristics of living things. My Characteristics posters from my Living Things Posters pack were great visuals that helped the kids remember and describe how they knew something was alive. We used what we learned to make a class book (it's a little torn and tattered because the kids love to read it during self-selected reading!)
We used these Alphabet File Folder booklets (which I had made years ago). These booklets are a favorite at our writing centre. They contain several words that begin with that particular letter. The kids each got a letter of the alphabet. They took the Alphabet File Folder booklet corresponding with their letter and had to find one object that was alive and one that wasn't within the book and use the words to complete their activity page.
Because we had learned about the characteristics of living things (they breathe, grow and change, etc.), the kids were so good at distinguishing between objects that are living and non-living.
The trouble with discussing living things with 5 year olds is you can get into some funny conversations and you don't want to crush their sense of wonder and amazement and sometimes, the belief in the 'imaginary.' My own daughter, who falls within this age group asked me not too long ago, "Mom, where in the world is Arendelle?" When I asked what she meant, she responded, "you know, where Anna and Elsa live?" Living and non-living kind of fits in with the idea of real versus imaginary. One of the littles in my class who had the letter "Ee" to contribute to our class book asserted that an elf was a living thing. When my student teacher was about to correct her, my kindie continued very confidently "you know, an elf!!! He lives with Santa up in the North Pole!" Who can argue with that! And so, I'd say we got the concept of 'living things' for the most part!
We then branched out into talking about plants as living things. We discussed how plants display all the characteristics of living things. We learned how plants make food (in their leaves) and how they show sensitivity (towards the sun). We planted our own bean sprouts and watched them grow. We noted our observations in our Plant Journal from Mrs. Ricca. The kids would go to the window each day to see their plant grow and change, from tiny sprouts to very tall plants.
Here are some of our observations.
I planted 3 bean seeds.
My plant is growing beans.
I planted a seed and it grew into leaves.
My plant is tall.
And just last week we got a special delivery - larvae. These tiny caterpillars came to our school and were put in containers slightly bigger than a creamer container you'd get from the coffee shop. They came with 'food.' Well something amazing happened over the weekend...they got huge!!!
And so we will branch into another area of living things...the life cycle of a butterfly! We can't wait to see the metamorphosis happen before our eyes!