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    What makes day and night?
    How does the sun help it rain?
    How big is the sun?
    How do plants grow?
    How do we get energy from the sun?
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Energy in the Garden
     

 

How do we get energy from the sun?


   During the planning process with Discovery Creek Children's Museum, we strategized a method for teaching and learning about the sun's energy and how it is represented in the garden. We thought about how a young child interprets the term "energy". We assumed that the children's most direct association with the term "energy" is in a physical context, i.e., energy level as related to eating food. Children often hear "Eat your carrots so you'll have lots of energy". The Museum developed a program that built upon this basic concept, extending the under-standing to how energy is transferred from the sun to plants to animals to people.

   Discovery Creek Staff developed a workshop specifically for our teachers on this concept (see:  The Project Team:  Teacher Workshop Materials).  Lana Brown and Audra Kelly  came to Peabody Early Childhood Center on December 5th for a celebratory day.  

    The two Museum staff representatives  worked with eight classes of students.  They guided the students through a kinesthetic representation of the food web, each child playing a  a different part of the food web.  Alternating with the food web activity, Jan MacKinnon, librarian at Peabody, worked with the classes  on a sequencing activity where they created a food chain. 

   It worked!  The children quickly caught on that the sun's energy is needed for the plants to make their food and that we eat that food to get our energy.   

    Recommended Children's Literature:  What Makes Everything Go? by Michael Ross;  Energy from the Sun by Allan Fowler.

    The following pictures show the activities of the day:

 

The children are "producers", plants getting their energy from the sun.

Audra demonstrates a "consumer", animals, which have reached out, grabbed food and brought it back to eat.

Creating a food web.

Playing  the parts of the web

Making a simple food chain.

Putting it in the order for energy transfer..

 

 

Assessments

   The children drew where they were in the food web.

"I was a deer.  I ate Diani."

"Antonio the mouse.  I'm the fox"

"That was me the flower.  Ienza was a chipmunk.
She ate me.  She ate nuts."

"Mason ate me.  I was a leaf and Mason was a beetle."

 

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