Sunday, April 29, 2012

Free Invent an Insect Project

I love the spring for all of the interesting, engaging (and let's not forget fun!) units that coincide with it.  Although it hasn't felt like spring this week, we began celebrating spring a few weeks ago in my room.  We began with the plant lifecycle by reading different versions of Jack and the Beanstalk and miraculously finding 5 (not so) magical beans for each child to plant.  With all the excitement we created before "planting" them in a wet paper towel, my kindergarten students were super disappointed when they didn't grow at all.  Some of them popped open, but just didn't want to grow into even a small beanstalk no matter how hard I crossed my fingers.  I don't seem to have much luck with this project, so if anyone has great advice, I would be more than willing to take it.
I gained their confidence back when I had them plant pumpkin, lettuce, zinnia and sunflower seeds that gave us almost 100% growth.  You never want to be remembered as the teacher who couldn't grow anything, kindergarten teachers ARE supposed to be magical and able to make anything work, right?  I don't have pictures,  but we made the cutest garden picks by putting their tiny picture on the top of a popsicle stick with a clipart picture of the kind of seed they planted glued to the other side.  It just allowed the children to check on their plants much easier than just writing their name on the cup.
 Here you can see the results of a creative, directed drawing.  I gave the students the basics of what they would be drawing (step by step), but the children decided how to draw the things since we know that all roots, flowers, leaves, soil, water sources, etc. are different.  I absolutely love their interpretations.  These particular students are very creatively gifted and loved doing this informal assessment, but I have to say that every student completed this project successfully. We drew with permanent black markers (which helps to avoid the constant erasing for your perfectionists) and then painted with water colors afterward. 
This past week has been all about insects and kept even the most squirmish of my students engaged in the topic.  They have learned so much, but I think the information that will stick with them the longest is that insects have 3 body parts, eyes, mouth, antennae, and 6 legs.  They learn this by listening to Dr. Jeans song Insect Body Parts.  I can't believe there is no video of this exact song on YouTube, but this short clip will give you the idea.  The children love her version because it (similiar to BINGO) has you audiate one more part every time you sing it until you are audiating the entire song.
To end our Insect Fun we did a couple of really fun projects that I will share with you so you can have just as much fun with your students as I did with mine. The pasta butterfly lifecycle is a very tactile experience for children to see and save the cycle. 
 Lastly, my students got to invent a bug using all that they knew about insect body parts and then label it upon completion.  Again, I used creative, directed drawing by guiding them through but totally leaving it up to them on the shapes and sizes that they used.  The best part was that we borrowed my BFFs oil pastels to color them and make them oh-so-bright.
Of course, the students had to write about their very innovative bugs.  They LOVED writing about their bugs and did an absolutely fabulous job.  My most reluctant writer who started off by saying, "I'm not doing it.  I don't like writing." and ended up filling an entire page.  He showed me his first couple of sentences with a huge smile and saying, "I want to write more" and dashing back to his seat to do more. (Love!). Here are some of the many awesome examples (not sure why I didn't take pictures of the fantastic writing, too?).

Click here or on any of the pictures above to grab this free Invent an Insect kit from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business!
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  1. Thanks girls! We really enjoyed doing it!

  2. I like your invent an insect idea - I'm grabbing it to use in my class. And the plant painting/ drawing - those turned out very nice.
    For your beans - you might try making sure your paper towel isn't too wet - just damp and I've put them in a plastic Baggie and then thumbtacked them to the wall by the window. It is quite fun to watch them grow.
    Thanks for the freebie.

  3. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Super cute way to let your kids be creative! Thanks for sharing! :)

    Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives

  5. Love the invent an insect!!! used it in my class and posted on my blog - we put a link back to your site! Thank you!!!

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