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Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts

Life Cycle Ideas and Activities for Hands-on Learning Fun!

Do you teach about life cycles? 

Here is a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Why is it important to teach about life cycles?

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Teaching young people about life cycles is a great way to help them understand the world around them. It helps them connect with nature, and develop a sense of life patterns. 

 I typically start any unit with plenty of books on the topic, and here are some of my favorites! (Can you tell who my favorite children's non-fiction author is?) Each image is an affiliate link to Amazon.

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You can find more books on life cycles HERE! (Also affiliate links!) In my classroom, I'll read a few, then leave several different life cycle related books out for them to read on their own. (The librarian/ media specialist is your best friend!)

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Start with something small, with just a few parts to the life cycle. Flowering plants, such as sunflowers or daisies are a great place to start, since these life cycles are very basic. After going over one or two simple life cycles, advance to something else children enjoy and know something about like apples or chickens!

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Then do a few more together. Advance to something more complex and fun, like the butterfly or the frog!

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

There are so many plants and animals out there, each child can have plenty of options for exploring on their own!

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Then assign research. More advanced students can do all the research on their own. Average students can do some research on their own. Some students will need extra guidance. I highly recommend using the text pages from these collections:

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!
 Spring Life Cycle Bundle: 9 different plants and animals (dandelions, cherry trees, bees, Monarch butterflies, chickens, robins, salmon, earthworms, and rabbits)

Summer Life Cycle Bundle: 9 different plants and animals (watermelons, daisies, strawberries, tomatoes, frogs, praying mantises, sea turtles, ants, and ladybugs)

Fall Life Cycle Bundle: 8 different plants and animals (apple trees, corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, owls, spiders, bats, and wild turkeys)

Winter Life Cycle Bundle: 9 different plants and animals (orange trees, cocoa trees, pine trees, deer, groundhogs, harp seal, penguin, polar bear, and puffins)

Why are these sorted by season? Well, because it's more fun! I'm sure you know how excited the kiddos get about special events and holidays! Use that excitement in your classroom! Let them explore pumpkins and bats near Halloween! Let them explore pine trees and deer around Christmas!

All these life cycle sets are sold separately, but the bundles are at a huge discount. Plus, all bundles include these two extra resources: 

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!
Reader's theater about life cycles: What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? This is a great way for students to share what they've learned and culminate the unit! Plus, there's a song for performers to sing as a finale!
Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Digital fun! Life Cycle Fun Facts! This resource (hosted on the popular Boom Learning platform) includes facts and questions about a plethora of plant and animal life cycles! This deck has 40 different questions, and no child will know all the answers! One of the features I love about Boom Learning resources, is that they can play the deck over and over, and because of the immediate feedback, they can learn something every time they play! Teachers can easily check their scores to make sure they are showing growth! (If they aren't, there's a conversation that needs to take place!)

There are many ways to differentiate the learning of life cycles!

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!
Whether they're working alone, with a partner, a small group, or the whole group, this is important:

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Get them talking and thinking! Get them comparing different life cycles, looking for similarities and differences. Have them predict a life cycle of a plant or animal before researching it. Encourage them to sort life cycles that are alike! Most of all, get them talking about what they  are learning! Those conversations deepen the learning!

All life cycle resources include these 7 pages:

Choice is essential!

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

All of these resources are included in The Life Cycles Collection. This massive bundle includes 35 different plant and animal life cycles as well as the Reader's Theater:
What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?  and the digital resource: Life Cycle Fun Facts! Have I mentioned that bundles come with big discounts?

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Most important, give opportunities to share their learning. Although some might be shy about sharing information in front of the class, that's what makes it so memorable! The memory is powerful when strong emotions are involved. Not only will they remember what they shared, they'll remember what life cycles their classmates shared as well! 

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

A special day to celebrate all the learning is a necessity! Have a Life Cycle Festival! Have children share their presentations on what they learned! Invite parents, administration, friends, other classes, etc! I'll bet you can think of plenty of life cycle related foods to serve! Be sure to have someone videotape it all!

What ideas do you have for learning and celebrating life cycles?

Do you teach about life cycles? Here are a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!


My Traditional Mother's Day Gift

First of all, if you are the mom of one of my students, you'll have to click out of this screen. Sorry, you can't see this until after Mother's Day! (Or you'll just have to be really, really good at acting surprised!)

My Traditional Mother's Day Gift: This is a win-win-win! I love it, the kids love it, and the moms love it. (Plus, there's a freebie!)

Now that I've made that clear, I can tell you about my traditional Mother's Day gift. It's something I've been doing every year for at least 15 years. It's one of those activities that's a win-win-win for everyone involved! I love it, the kids love it, and the moms love it. Plus, there's some learning going on!
 
My Traditional Mother's Day Gift: This is a win-win-win! I love it, the kids love it, and the moms love it. (Plus, there's a freebie!) 

Every year about this time I go to the gardening store and buy a flat of impatiens. I usually get a variety of colors, and I make sure I have more than enough. I brought my flat of little plants to class today just to "wet their whistle". I think every single kid in the class asked about them.


Later this week, I'll sit with small groups and repot them. I get right into the soil, asking them to loosen all the soil around the roots before repotting. There are some great conversations around the table during this process! It's always interesting to see which kids are afraid to get their hands dirty! I typically use peat pots (see below) because they can go right into the soil. Paper cups can be used as well, but must be removed before going into the ground.
 
My Traditional Mother's Day Gift: This is a win-win-win! I love it, the kids love it, and the moms love it. (Plus, there's a freebie!) 

Once all the plants have been repotted, the kids keep the plants on their desk until it's time to bring them home. Yep, that's right, the potted plants stay on their desks, beside the flags, beanies, water bottles, and once in a while, some work! 


I love to watch their faces... they come in first thing in the morning, and check the plant right away. They tend to panic if a leaf has fallen off (They know just how many leaves their plant has!) After a while, they catch on that leaves falling off is part of the process, and new leaves will appear.


There are always a few minor disasters. They all know where the dustpan is kept, and they all know how to use it. Impatiens will endure just about everything the kids can do to a plant, except a broken stem. Then it becomes another learning experience. I've learned to keep several extras for a couple of reasons:
1. Those "learning experiences" can be too distressing without a back up plan!
2. I love growing impatiens in my own garden. I usually keep the extras in the classroom for most of the year, but I do take them home and put them in my yard... they're great to grow!

I send home this information sheet on impatiens with the children the day the plants go home. 

My Traditional Mother's Day Gift: This is a win-win-win! I love it, the kids love it, and the moms love it. (Plus, there's a freebie!)

The parents really seem to love the plants, and the kids love preparing them. It's one of those activities that works so well I keep coming back to it every year, and it's a delight each year. It's definitely a win-win-win... with plenty of learning on the side!

My Traditional Mother's Day Gift: This is a win-win-win! I love it, the kids love it, and the moms love it. (Plus, there's a freebie!)

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