Sunflowers & Math

Sunflowers were given to us recently. This worked out perfectly because the children have been learning about the parts of a plant through our current seed exploration.  The sunflowers started a conversation that brought us to math and counting.

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As the children sat around the table they began describing details about a sunflower and what they knew:

“They have seeds inside it.”

“I ate them before!”

“There is honey in the black hole.”

“The sun grows sunflowers.”

“I see brown and yellow.”

“The stem feels soft.”

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The materials provided for this provocation were sunflowers, white paper, black sharpies and oil pastels.

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The children were asked to estimate how many petals they thought the sunflower had on it. This became a very interesting conversation because the children started off with a very small number, 6! The teacher let the children count and see that there were more than 6.

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Working together the children began saying numbers that were greater than the previous number. They also began counting by 10s at one point. The numbers said were: 6,10,14,26,36,46,96,106,1000,1041,1091,1092, and lastly they stopped at 1093.  With the help of each other, their teachers and a number chart the children practiced writing all these numbers in the order they were said.

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Usually the children focus on their observational drawings, but instead they taught each other identifying numbers, counting, and numbers greater than one another.

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That is the beauty of the Reggio Emilia approach, that the teachers and children work together to expand the children’s wonder and knowledge. Children are self-learners, critical thinkers and not only do they teach themselves, they teach their friends and even their teachers!

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“Posting a learning target before a lesson is like announcing what a gift is before it’s opened. Post a question. Bring curiosity and thinking back to the classroom.” -Credited to Venspired.com

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