Living and Nonliving Pinspiration

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So one thing that I am having difficulty with as I transition the year through kindergarten is depth and complexity.  Coming from third grade I seem to struggle with how to stretch “simple” things out for the required amount of time.  For example, right now we are working on living and nonliving in science.  We have already done one week on the topic and after 2 days I was confident that my students understood the difference between living and nonliving and why something is living.  When I scour the Internet for ideas on how to further teach this topic I keep coming across the same things – powerpoints and sorting activities.  We have done both!  I even took my class to the computer lab and taught them how to use a new program (Kidspiration) and they created and sorted pictures into groups of living and nonliving.  I was thrilled with the outcome – more from the technology standpoint that the science standpoint – but thrilled nonetheless.

Here’s my quandary – I still have another week on the topic!?!  Now, just so you know, I still have plants and animals coming up, so this 2 week period is strictly for the following learning points:  1) differentiating between living and nonliving based upon whether they have basic needs and produce offspring, and 2) examining evidence that living organisms have basic needs such as food, water and shelter for animals and air, water, nutrients, sunlight and space for plants.   I wanted to some labs on the topic.  I ruled out manipulating living organisms to see whether they could survive without food, water and shelter.  Wasn’t sure that would fly over well.

This is what I am going to try.  Here is my Pinspiration from Strong Start:

I loved the idea of having 5 different fingers to really test whether something was living or nonliving.  I have to keep in mind that is my goal – not sprouting plants.  So I ran to the Dollar Tree and picked up some gloves.  Then I stopped off for some testing agents.  Each student will receive 1 glove and 5 “items” to test whether it is living or nonliving.  The 5 items are: bean seed, radish seed, zinnia seed (picked this one based on its germination time), a popcorn kernel, and a roasted/salted sunflower seed. 

We will start off by looking at the 5 items and making a hypothesis about whether it is living or nonliving.  Then I am going to introduce the idea of testing that hypothesis.  I am going to have the kids list what we would need to test based on what living things need.  Then TA-DA I have everything we need to get started! 

I created this recording booklet to record our daily observations over the next 2 weeks.  The booklet includes a cover, pages to draw and describe each of the 5 objects as well as to make a hypothesis for each object, a daily observation page ready to draw and write observations and a conclusions page.  You can grab a copy by clicking on the picture. 

I have no idea if this will work – but I am going to give it a try!  In my head, it works great!  I will keep you posted throughout the next 2 weeks as to its success. 

In addition to this on-going experiment, we are also going to inspect soil samples and pond water samples to look for sign of life.  At the end of the week we are going to create a living and nonliving object out of construction paper.  I am going to give the students their choice to create anything they like.  Then they will write the evidence to prove why it is living or nonliving.  Finally, they will post their item on the correct chart to display.

If you are looking for more Living and Nonliving ideas for your classroom, check-out these:

This is a great FREE unit by Sarah Paul that I used in my first week of living and nonliving. 
Click on the picture to find it!

A worm vs. gummy worm science lab!  I don’t know whether to say Yuck or Yum!

This is a great mini-unit from KindergartenKindergarten!  I used much of this in my week 1 plans.  I especially love the powerpoint to introduce the topic!

Well, I hope if you find yourself in the same place I am that these ideas help you out a little.  Check back to see how our Living and Nonliving Experiment is going! 

If you have an activity that you love for Living and Nonliving please share with your comments!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


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