[This is the fourth STEM project happening in first grade this year. Be sure to check out the others by selecting STEM from the category selector over on the right sidebar. This was written and submitted by first grade teacher, Ms. Darea]
This week’s STEM project revolved around leaves!
The kids headed to The Outdoor Learning Center on Tuesday with their science notebooks.
Each student was given a green leaf. In the screen house, we wrote down our pre-investigation in our science journals. The investigation was to first predict what color their leaf was going to change in the fall and then to find a colorful match to their leaf.
The next day, we went to The Outdoor Learning Center to collect some pretty leaves. The plan was to bring them back to the classroom and spend some time identifying them. But, we were having too much fun collecting to get back to the classroom in time!
On Thursday, half of the class stayed with me to identify their leaves, while the rest went with Ms. Gale to collect yet another leaf for their art project on Friday. The students had to find leaves that would fit on an index card, so first they measured the index card with paper clips to see how long their leaf could be. Then they took their paper clip chain out with them to find the perfect leaf. When they were done, we switched groups. Ms. Gale had made a book of leaves she had identified for a class and we used this to help with our identification. I put it under the document camera. This was much easier for them to handle than a typical field guide.
I then ironed the leaves between two pieces of wax paper. I stapled a border around the edges and the students wrote the names of their leaves around the edge. These made beautiful window decorations!
On Friday, for art, the kids did leaf rubbings with the leaf they previously collected and measured. These rubbings were put on cards which will be used in writing in a few weeks when we learn how to write friendly letters!
For our final leaf project, we went to The Outdoor Learning Center to collect one last leaf.
We used these leaves for a variety of math activities.
We did many things with our leaves one collected like measure the leaves with cubes to see how long they were, figure out the area of the leaves by covering them with pennies, count how long it took our leaf to fall to the floor when dropped, and measure how many pennies it would take to sink our leaves.
All of this information was recorded in our leaf books!
Once we completed all of these activities, we gathered data from the class about how many pennies it took to fill our leaves and made a line plot on the mimeo board.
When looking at the line plot many kids were able to tell that the leaves which held only three pennies must have been pretty small leaves and the ones that held 25 or more pennies must have been pretty big leaves. I asked what we could tell about leaves that held the same number of pennies. One child said that maybe the leaves were from the same kind of tree. Another kid said that we could tell that the leaves were the same size.