~ Spring Lessons ~

Spring in the Pond

To observe and identify animals and plants found in a sample of pond water: What animals live in and around the pond?

Fourth Grade Spring #1 Spring in the Pond PDF Lesson and Supporting Documentation

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~ Fall Lessons ~

Fourth Grade Becoming a Nature Detective

Being able to sit quietly and observe everything around one’s self is an important skill in learning about nature. As the children progress through the activities in our Living Classroom Learning Lab, they will need to use their senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch to understand the plants and animals that make their home there. The purpose of this lesson is for the children to deepen their observation skills by concentrating on their sense of touch while interacting with the variety of plants present in the Living Classroom. In a third grade lesson, Adaptation in the Prairie, the children were taught about the many adaptations that nearly all prairie plants employed to be able to survive the frigid winters and the sweltering summers with very little rain. Here in the fourth grade Nature Detective lesson, they will use their sense of touch to feel many different textures from plant leaves and stems collected throughout the Living Classroom. They will search for one of the plants whose leaves they felt and, once it is found, they will ask the question: What adaptations does this plant make to ensure its survival? In answering this question, the children should also begin to wonder themselves as to how this all come to be. How did the plants know what to do? They will begin to understand the complexity of nature. Hopefully, they will want to know and understand more! To display their understanding, the fourth graders will be asked to design their own plant that will become a sustainable member of a Living Classroom ecosystem benefiting other plants, animals, and us.

Fourth Grade Becoming a Nature Detective PDF Lesson and Supporting Documentation​

~ Video Coming Soon ~

Fourth Grade Biodiversity The incredible variety of life on Earth

The purpose of this lesson is to instill in the children an understanding that there is an incredible variety of life on Earth, and that all of life (plants and animals) is a single, weblike, interconnected organism. Everything is interconnected in some way. Plants rely on animals for pollination, animals rely on plants for oxygen and food, and everything relies on fungi, bacteria, invertebrates, and insects to break down their waste. The essential question that has guided this Living Classroom curriculum is “ Why is our  relationship to the natural world necessary?”. Understanding biodiversity helps answer this question. All environmental issues affect biodiversity. We will learn through studying the biodiversity of the prairie ecosystem that every living thing within an ecosystem is interdependent. We need children and adults to become environmentally literate: to have the knowledge, skills, commitment,passion and motivation to take responsible action on behalf of the environment.

Fourth Grade Biodiversity The incredible variety of life on Earth PDF Lesson and Supporting Documentation

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Fourth Grade Fibonacci

There are two purposes for this lesson.

With this lesson, the children will be in the gardens going on a treasure hunt to find examples of the Fibonacci sequence that can be found in the plants that reside there. This Fibonacci pattern appears repeatedly in nature. As the children search, it is hoped that the children will begin looking at our world thoroughly, stretching their curiosity, and wondering “why”. Many discoveries that benefit mankind have been made just by wondering “why” and observing our world.

As an example: Scientists have been studying the straight hovering flight of the hummingbird. This flight has been observed to help the hovering of helicopters and to help airplanes with wind gust tolerance and visual flight control through obstacles. Hummingbirds have the slenderest wings of all flying insects and are the most efficient fliers.

Since the main purpose of the Living Classroom is “to help children connect with nature,” and for the children to understand why their relationship to nature is necessary, could it be that some of our children will discover something invaluable for mankind as they become more aware of their outside world? By observing nature, could we better equipped to wonder “why”?

A secondary purpose to show how mathematics invades most of our life. The Fibonacci sequence has been called a mathematical curiosity. It is a series of numbers that are known to be common in how things grow (the 3, 5, 8, or more petals of a flower), the Golden Rectangle in architecture, and the Golden Spiral (exemplified in the shape of our galaxy, the arrangement of seeds cluttered in the center of a sunflower, the growth of a nautilus shell). Presently, we do not know where these numbers will lead or what new discoveries can come from them. Recently it was found that there is a great value in the use of prime numbers in cryptography (the art of writing or solving codes). The Fibonacci sequence may open the door to a new discovery. The questions for this lesson will be:

What is a Fibonacci number?

Where can we find the Fibonacci sequence in nature?

Are there occurrences in nature where I wonder “how did that come to be?”

Fourth Grade Fibonacci PDF Lesson and Supporting Documentation

~ Video Coming Soon ~