Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Flower Deconstruction

Yesterday afternoon a small group came together in the Cohort 7 & 9 classroom to investigate several freshly picked cosmos blooms from our abundant garden.  On the table were white, purple, and pink cosmos offered with several pictures of the plant by itself and with bees and butterflies.

We started by remembering where we see these everyday and what they are called, noticing the range of colors represented just in our garden alone.   There was a lot of interest in the pictures available, and the children were immediately drawn to the images of the bee and butterfly.

“What’s that, what’s that? A… butterfly!” AJ
“There’s a little bee on there?” LP
“What that butterfly doin’?” MH
“Bee! Bee!” NA

These observations prompted a discussion about bees and butterflies being drawn to the bright flowers, which hold sweet nectar for them to drink.   Each of the children thoughtfully repeated many of the words I used: nectar, drink, flowers, butterflies, bees, food.  LS: “Butterfly is eating, bee is eating!”

As everyone passed the pictures and flowers back and forth, I mentioned that it worked for me if anyone wanted to take apart the flowers.  AJ immediately removed a bloom from its stem, squeezing the petals in her hand for a moment before focusing on the stem.  Holding the stem like a pencil, she traced an outline of one of the flowers on the picture: “I draw on it!”

MH began removing the petals from one of the flowers, gathering them in his palm and then sprinkling them on his face, giggling and craning his neck to try and get a glimpse of the petals as they lay on his forehead. 

LS grew quiet and smiled as she used gentle touches to explore the flower before taking it apart slowly: “Oocy doin’ it!" 

LP was drawn to the picture of the butterfly drinking from a cosmos, and asked AJ to pass it to her.  She investigated the image as she twirled a white cosmos bloom on the table.

NA suddenly drew our attention to a tiny spider crawling across the table!  We wondered if it was brought in with the flowers and watched it scurry across the tabletop.  NA had taken the stem off of one of the flowers and used it as a sweeping tool as she brushed the petals around: “Get over there, petals!”

MH began layering the blooms on top of the pictures so that the centers of the flowers were lined up.  LP watched for a minute before sandwiching one of the cosmos flowers between two pictures.  The image with the butterfly rested on top and she gave it a few pats, feeling the flower through the paper.  A few other children noticed this and tried it for themselves.

MH remarked that the centers of the flowers looked like the broccoli crowns that have recently formed on our broccoli plants outside.  He eagerly pointed this out to everyone, repeating: “It’s like broccoli!” 

As the group started to leave the table and move on to other things, AJ stayed behind and helped me stack the pictures and sweep up the flower parts.  She paused as she held the stack of pictures, looking closely at the image of the butterfly, before asking again: “He eatin’ it up?”  I nodded and explained how the butterfly uses its proboscis to drink the nectar, which could be clearly seen in the picture.  AJ thought for a moment: “I drink from a cup! Not a flower!”  We talked about this difference, a difference she recognized as arising from a shared need for nourishment.

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