Our edible vs. non-edible leaf project has evolved into an edible vs. non-edible seed project! (To read our previous post about edible vs. non-edible leaves, click here.)
The parents have helped us so much by donating various fruits and vegetables every day. The children have been investigating these fruits, and the project evolved when the children began discussing why you can eat some seeds and not others. One child even said, “if it’s soft, you can eat it… but you can also eat pumpkin seeds because you cook them!”
Our goal with this project is for the children to locate the seeds within the fruit, use play dough and loose parts to recreate the fruit or vegetable to demonstrate where the seeds are located, to investigate which seeds are edible, and to plant the seeds! During this project, the children even found seeds in a pineapple, a wonderful discovery for everyone involved (including some parents!) After we investigate each fruit/vegetable and the seeds within them, we are going to plant the seeds, label each plant, and place them in the window for sunlight. The pumpkin seeds have already begun sprouting and have captivated the children’s interest.
On one particular day, a parent brought a dragon fruit, kiwi, and apple to the class. We placed these fruits on the table with a piece of paper labeling each fruit. The children were immediately fascinated with the dragon fruit and wanted to know what this species of food was. Since the word “dragon fruit” was on the table, they began to sound out the word in order to pronounce the name correctly. The children knew what the “d” letter sounded like, and began relating the letter to other words with a “d,” like dog and duck. We questioned them on if this fruit was a dog or duck, and the children mulled over these questions for a while before determining that no, this is a dragon fruit. This conversation allowed them to really engage in the reading process and to think critically.
Eventually the children sounded out the entire word “dragon fruit” and began wondering why it was called that. One child logically explained that it’s called a dragon fruit “because dragons eat it.” This sparked a debate among the children on whether dragons are real or just literary characters. They concluded that the dragons they were referring to do not exist, so they began comparing them to dinosaurs. Suddenly, one child said, “a long time ago, before God was born and before people were born, there were dragons, and they are dragon fruit.”
All of the children discussed this and eventually agreed that this made the most sense, and it was such a great theory! As they began to develop this idea, the “legend of the dragon fruit” evolved! Every day since then, we have spent time furthering our hypothesis and adding to the story. Recently, we’ve looked at the physical concept of dragons and the children studied if dragons had wings, the type of wings (for example: wings like a bird or wings like a bat), and the children drew sketches of dragons with wings to represent their ideas of what dragon wings look like. We’ve also furthered this hypothesis by examining the type of teeth dragons have (for example: do dragons have “shark teeth” or “tiger teeth”?) After developing an idea, we encouraged the children to sketch out their understand of dragon teeth to further their knowledge of the subject and represent their ideas in a different way.
To read part 2 and 3 of the Legend of Dragon Fruit and see what the children are learning from this project: