Take a classic story: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. This is the eco-friendly story of the Lorax who tries to speak for the trees when Once-ler begins to cut them down; in the name of ‘biggering’ his business. The Lorax is a fable highlighting the dangers of corporate greed can have towards the environment. Themes of caring and respecting the environment are nestled in poetic verse of Dr. Seuss.
This book was the seed for the the “Growing Things” inquiry in Mrs. Campbell’s class. The students began to wonder about how trees grow. They learned about the parts of a tree, making drawings and artwork. They discussed what things need to grow (sun, soil, water, and care). They then learned discussed different types of plants, and decided to plant various types of seeds, investigating how different plants grow.
Students began to wonder about pollution. What is pollution? How can we care for our environment? They began to dig deeper; and look at some of our non-fiction books in the library. They learned some of the visible differences between fiction and non fiction books.
After learning about pollution and caring for the environment, the JK class decided to take action and not turn on the classroom lights on for a week. They began to practice a five second hand wash rule during washroom breaks. They decided to bring in all their recycled materials and sorted them by type, without any definitive plans for what they were going to do with these containers. Then, with Christmas fast approaching, they decided to use their recycled materials and build a classroom Christmas tree, and make the decorations.
The JK class learned songs related to the Growing Things project, and practiced their gross and fine motor control. They practiced making patterns with petals in their artwork, and learned how to sort recycled containers through critera.
Through the student directed Growing Things project, students had opportunity and support to learn more about their wonderings that came from “The Lorax”. They practiced and developed many skills, and made many mult-disciplinary connections. They had the opportunity to sing, dance, build, read and create.
Many parents at Parent Teacher Interviews shared how these students began to transfer what they had learned in the classroom to their real life. While walking through Coloane, one student shared what she knew about trees with her parents. Another parent reported that their child reminds them to turn off the lights and to shut off the water when not necessary. What is next for these inquiring minds? Ms. Campbell believes that growing food will extend to healthy living and cooking.