Students investigate garden science in and around the museum. Using real-life specimens and non-fiction books for inspiration, students learn how to record their observations with drawings and labels. Students develop questions and theories as they share their scientific thinking in a science talk, offering teachers a unique way to get students speaking scientifically.
Lesson extensions for before or after your visit
The following activities are designed for your class to enjoy before or after your museum visit. Familiarizing students with the lesson concepts can enrich your museum experience.
Have students bring in an object from nature that interests them. Display the objects on a table or shelf. Add plants and class pets to the display. Provide magnifying glasses and clipboards with paper and pencils and ask students to explore each item and draw their favorites.
Establish an area in the classroom, complete with sticky notes and pencils, where students can post questions about nature.
Choose questions from the wonder center to discuss as a class. Include students in establishing norms for the discussions. Some may be: “We will raise our hands when we want a turn,” “We will agree or disagree in a friendly way,” and "We will roll the ball to someone with a hand up for a turn.” The goal is to give students a forum in which they can voice their theories rather than to arrive at correct answers.
Provide opportunities in the classroom for discussions about items on the discovery table (either as a small group, whole group, or one-on-one) that begin with open-ended questions such as “What do you notice?” or “What did you discover?” Let students guide the discussion. Document the conversations by transcribing or tape recording. The documentation can be used to plan future experiences, remind students of what they said, or to share students' thinking with parents.