Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

### In kindergarten, the

In kindergarten, the curriculum starts with the child and expands to the world. It starts with the fives senses and moves to trees. I like the connection of the tree and the young child.  As a tree,  the  young child grows physically, and mentally. Their curiousity blooms and like a tree,  the child has basic needs to allow their metacognitive skills to flourish. It is our job as educators to water and feed them as a gardener does.

I looked at the curriculum in Science, Math, Literacy, and Social Studies because they are standards that I have to teach in order to keep administrators off my back. I then look for common strands across each subject and thought how could I do an inquiry on plants.  I would do a KWL as a pre-assessment. I like KWL because it allows me to see what they know and what questions they have.  Then using their questions, I would develop lessons and space(physical and cognitive) that allows them to answer their questions.

Since it is based on their questions, this unit is fluid.   In science the students are studying the five senses and trees. The students can use their five senses to observe a tree and then different types of trees. They can also compare themselves to trees, comparing their basic needs and parts to that of a tree. They can also look at patterns they see in nature.  The studetns are doing patterns in math and Science so I can touch another standard.

In math, students are expected to describe different attributes of a object. They can achieve this by looking at leaves and fruit that they bring in. They can  practice sorting as well. I also want to bring trees to a smaller scale by studying plants in the class. I have described a lesson I want to do with my class in an earlier blog. In the lesson I want to grow plants and change variables, (light, water, air, and soil). In this lesson they are going to measure plants using nonstandard units and eventually standard units. They can compare the lengths of different plants as the variable change.  They can show what they learned and their data though bar graphs, journaling, a five senses report, etc.

In the beginning of the year students are studying Africa and its natural resources. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to continue our exploration of trees. They can study trees in the different regions of Africa, and how different environments affect tree growth. In literacy one component of  the curriculum is looking at animals. The children can look at animals who habitat is trees. We can discuss the food that trees produce that animals eat.  I was also thinking of doing a herb garden in the room, and using their multi-senseory skills they can explore the herbs.

I want to stress this is how how an inquiry of trees could look like in my classroom and still teach what "they need to Know". However, it could look different based on their questions and ideas. This requires me to be flexible, patient and willing to devote time and resources to promote inquiry. I also have to be willing to take risk and collaborate with my own peers.  Inqury is not just  engaging the kids in their questions and thoughts but it has to be meaningful for me as well. It requires me to think about my own meta-cognive skills but also think about how do I teach.