Real-life observations lead to valuable learning experiences
Our Foundation 2 children had recently developed an interest in apples and gardening, inspired by a walk with their teacher Ashley Moisdon to the field located amongst the apple orchards surrounding our campus.
The children showed great interest in the apple orchards, examining the apples growing on the trees and noting: "This is the mother apple, and this is the baby apple...". Building on this, the class investigated apples in a variety of ways (apple pies, apple tastings and comparisons, bar charts, etc.) and also the life cycle of apples. The following week, the children took another walk to the field to see how the apples and trees had changed and developed.
On their walk they also discovered onions growing in the fields, followed by a pear orchard. The farmer stopped and chatted with the children and gave each child a pear straight from the tree to try, which was a fantastic multi-sensory experience for the children.
Extending the children's interest
The children were fascinated by growing fruit and vegetables and noted that onions, unlike apples and pears, grow in the ground and not on trees. The class then returned to school with a bunch of pears, apples and onions. The children now wanted to know why pears and apples grow on trees and onions in the ground. They also observed the different look of the pear and apple seeds. The children asked, "Can we explore pears now?" and Mrs Moisdon followed this interest and extended it to other fruits and vegetables.
First, the children examined different seeds and compared their size, colour and shape, and talked about what plants can develop from them. They distinguished between fruits and vegetables and discovered whether they grow on trees, bushes, vines or in the soil. The children were particularly interested in what grows under the surface of the earth and together with their teacher they read many books with pictures to help them better imagine what we cannot see. They read "Oliver's Vegetables" by Vivian French, which is about a little boy who doesn't like vegetables, only fries. His grandfather proposes a deal: if he finds the potatoes in the garden, they will make fries and eat them, but if he pulls out any other vegetables, he has to try those too. Of course, he pulls out many other vegetables and finds out how many he actually likes.
In class, the Foundation 2 children dug for their own vegetables and discovered which vegetables could be cooked at home. Then they investigated what a farmer does with all the fruit and vegetables and found out that he could sell his produce in shops or supermarkets. Therefore, Mrs Moisdon helped the children to set up a supermarket in the classroom. The children took on the roles of shopkeepers, shop assistants, cashiers and customers. They sorted the groceries, made price tags, used banknotes and weighed their goods. The customers wrote shopping lists and thought about what they wanted to prepare and what ingredients they had to buy for it.
To round off the theme, the children created faces with the groceries, inspired by the artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo.