What is a "growing science" center?

A "growing science" center starts small in the classroom with planting a seed or rooting a plant. Obviously, the plants grow, but more importantly, children's interest in plants, ecosystems and the world grows. And what you have is a science center that gets more focus in the classroom as the children want to investigate and experiment and are motivated to use the science process skills naturally.

The growth of your science center will also branch out and begin to vine into language, math, social studies, art, and music. The learning is hands-on, child-centered and empowers children in a healthy way.

Some of the topics that may sprout from your "growing science" center are soil, weather, plant life, nutrition, chemistry, ecosystems, land uses, environmental issues, insects, micro-organisms, mammals, cultures and more. The children will also have hands-on experience with concepts such as evaporation, propagation, capillary action, synthesis, biodiversity, and decomposition.

How do I create a "growing science" center?

There are ten steps to a successful center:

1. Start small.

2. Let the interest (teacher's and children's) direct the growth.

3. Locate the center near a light source (window ledge, table or cabinet with grow light above, and/or small outdoor garden plot).

4. Make center equipment easily accessable (Newspaper, nursery containers, potting soil, plant journals, graph paper, tweezers, droppers, metric watering containers, measuring tape/string, magnifying glasses).

5. Add a sensory or unusual plant!

6. Sprouting lentils is a great start. Then go from there.

7. Allow freedom for the children to take risks, explore, make choices, be responsible and work together.

8. Keep investigations and projects on-going and overlapping.

9. Integrate in all disciplines.

10. Learn along with the children.

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