Contrary to what we were all brought up to believe, textbooks are not the only way to teach students new concepts. Sometimes the visual and tangible can be the best way to accomplish teaching goals! A component of the Ontario Kindergarten Science Curriculum is plants… and so much fun can be had when using a hands-on teaching technique to teach students about plant life. The Kindergarten teachers at RMS thought and thought about how we could allow these youngsters to get their hands nice and dirty, all while learning. So why not grow a vegetable plant in our own classroom we pondered. This way, students would get first hand exposure to what nature really does for us.
Our kids were ecstatic to learn that they’d be able to get involved and actually be a part of the planting and maintenance process as the seeds grew into plants. Each group was given a small pot; a bowl of soil, and a handful of seeds. We began the experiment by ensuring that each student knew what the expectations were, and we explained that in order to have a plant grow, it needed to go through a number of steps. The students started off by filling their pots with soil and then they made holes in the soil for their seeds to be placed in. The kids were then given seeds to be placed in the holes; finally, they covered the seeds with the surrounding soil. The students were then reminded of the importance of proper watering and sunshine, without which the plants would just not grow! Each morning, all of the students were eager to water their personal pots and they anxiously waited for the fruits of their labour to poke through.
As a teacher, it was so exciting to come back to school on Monday and see all of their pots filled with sprouting plants! The joy that spread across our students’ faces upon entering the room that day was indescribable. They could not contain their pride and excitement when taking the plants home to show their parents what they had accomplished. After a few days, many of our students’ parents let us know that care for the plants was continuing at home. This was more than just a great hands-on experience for the children – it was also a skill that they could carry forward through life.