A New Education

Encourage exploration, growth, curiosity and independence in a hands-on, minds-on learning environment!

Lesson 4-Leaf in a Bag

Understanding: Students develop senses other than sight to identify plants/trees in nature.  In addition, they continue to develop skills in art and poetry.

Time: 1 hour

Materials: Enough plant/tree leaves and paper bags so that each students has one.  Watercolor paper, watercolors or watercolor pencils, writing paper and a pencil.

Anticipatory Set: Discuss with the students the idea of our senses and facilitate a conversation about which sense they believe the most in their own lives.  I like to point out that for myself, I rely on my sight more than any of my other senses, (after they have discussed their opinions).  Explain that they are going to be doing a project that requires them to use their sense of touch rather than sight.  Explain that they need to resist the urge to “peak” as it will ruin the essence of the assignment.

Lesson:  Give each student a paper bag with a leaf, twig or cone inside of it (pick things up from the ground as you enter the building).  The more variety the better!  The students should take some time to feel their object… you can put some “to think about” questions on the board for them to ponder or take notes about while they are exploring their object.  Ask, “does your object have hard, prickly, soft edges, etc…”  Does your object feel like it has veins?”  “Is your object layered?”  “Is your object attached to anything?”  The questions are endless but their purpose is to allow students to think about their object more deeply than they did as they walked into the building.

Instruct your students to draw an edge of their object on their scratch paper, (continuing to rely on their sense of touch alone”.  Have the students brainstorm words to describe their object (that will later be used in a poem/simile/analogy so make sure to ask them to list at least 5 or 6 adjectives).  After they have sketched an edge of their object and listed description words, the unveiling of their object may finally occur.  At this point ask your students to get their painting materials.  They will need one sheet of watercolor paper and their watercolors.  This is an excellence instance to discuss stewardship with your students.  Ask them to make sure that their watercolors and their area looks as clean as it did when they began so that others can have just as joyful of an experience.

Once the students have completed their watercolor painting it is time for them to begin on their poem.  You can choose for them to write a haiku, simile, metaphor, etc… whatever you happen to be studying in writing will lend itself wonderfully to this project!  Have fun with it and if it is a beautiful day… take the students outside for the entire project and collect the materials before you leave the room.  If not, just make sure to take them out after they have completed their writing so that they can have a chance to be a scientist and locate their plant.  It will come in handy for the next lesson!

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