The children recently took a closer look at pineapple, pumpkin, and cucumber seeds by utilizing the light board. The seed study was inspired by several different projects, however it started with our Edible Leaf Project and Edible Seeds Project.
In order to further the study on seeds and continually develop the project, we placed thin slices of different fruit on the light table. The children loved observing the fruits and immediately began pulling all of the seeds out and lining them up on the light table. Pulling the small and barely visible seeds out from the fruit allowed the children to work on their fine motor skills and develop the muscles in their hands and fingers. After all of the visible seeds were lined up side-by-side, some children began counting them while others created drawings and sketches. We encouraged the children to do what they wanted in order to further their knowledge, whether that was counting the seeds or drawing them for a visual representation. The children who counted the seeds worked on mathematical concepts like order of the numbers and counting. They worked together to count all of the seeds, which was a beautiful sight. The children who sketched the seeds paid close attention to the size and shape of the seeds and fruits that once housed them.
Later in the day, the class returned to this project by lining the seeds and counting them together. The children took their time to sound out each number, complete the sequence, and make sure each seed was counted and given the proper number. This sparked a discussion focusing on the purpose of seeds, like which ones you could eat, which ones have to be cooked, what they do, where they come from, the classification of foods that have seeds, and more. They discussed the color and size of the three different seeds and used terms like “big,” “small,” and “smaller.” Lastly, the children discussed how some seeds were more difficult to pull out while others were larger thus easier to grab. This continuation of the activity and discussion gave the children time to work together to count the seeds, making sure each child knew what number came next and how to pronounce it. The discussion that followed afterwards is a perk to this activity that made the project a rich learning experience for the children. Instead of simply being taught something and moving on, the children explored for themselves, gained knowledge, cemented the knowledge they gained by representing it in a different way, discussed what they learned, and came up with even more questions that needed answers. Instead of simply telling the children which seeds you can and cannot eat/cook and what they do, our goal is to carry out projects and experiments for the children to discover the answers for themselves. While these projects may take longer than giving the children a textbook with the answers, it allows for deep and rich learning experiences for each child.
During this activity, the children learned with and from their friends, had a sensory experience by observing the brilliant slices under the light table, tasting the juices left on their fingers by the fruits, and smelling the sweet aroma of each fruit. We also worked on counting, descriptive words (things aren’t just big or small, they can be smaller than small) and engaged in hands on learning with material items in the world!
To view a short video, press play below!