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Who Knows What Might Happen?

May 19, 2021 | Clara Buckley

Last week we read the story, My Garden by Kevin Henkes. The little girl imagines a garden filled with magic flowers. At the end of the book she plants a seashell.

What would happen if we planted a shell?

Then we found colorful seashells in the small garden surrounding the Little Library in Church Square Park.

Who had planted those shells?

Would they grow?

We decided to test our idea. The New Jersey Department of Education lists in its Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards for science: Standard 5.1: Children develop inquiry skills. Observe, question, predict, and investigate materials, objects, and phenomena during classroom activities indoors and outdoors and during any longer-term investigations in progress. Seek answers to questions and test predictions using simple experiments or research media.

First we observed and drew the tiny shells we planned to plant. Standard 5.1: Children develop inquiry skills. Represent observations and work through drawing, recording data, and “writing”.

We made a hole in the soil with a finger and each child planted a shell. Standard 5.3: Children observe and investigate living things. Observe similarities and differences in the needs of living things, and differences between living and nonliving things.

What else could we plant?

We used magnifying glasses to look closely at many tiny seeds and discovered some differences. Some seeds were round, some long and thin. They were different colors, black, brown, tan, cream.

What will these seeds grow into?

We discovered different seeds grow into different plants. The drawings on the packets helped us see what the grown plants will look like. Standard 9.3: Children identify and solve problems. Predict what will happen next based on prior experience and knowledge and test the prediction for accuracy.

How long will it take for the seeds to grow?

The children guessed one day, five days, fifty, five hundred, a thousand days! We’re counting and tallying the days as we wait and see. 

Clara Buckley

Preschool Art Specialist; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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