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Spring has sprung– and so have spring inquiries!!
14 Apr, 2018. 0 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Science, Reggio Inspired, Science, STEM. Posted By: Kristen Smith

A Reggio inspired butterfly mural made by kindergarteners

Good Morning everyone! I hope that this post finds you well. This past week we have been studying all things spring (in the midst of taking our standardized test).

Our school's wildflower garden


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 I wasn’t sure what would grab my students initial attention so we headed out to the garden to get inspired. We are very lucky to have a garden that is currently filled with blooming wildflowers, vegetables, and spring activity. We were able to observe first hand butterflies drinking nectar from our beautiful flowers, worms burrowing in the soil, snails at every turn, and munched happily on sugar snap peas that are currently in abundance. On this first trip to the garden we picked flowers and enjoyed nature. When we got back to the classroom, we dissected the flowers that we had picked and talked about the observations we were making. We also used our flower press and turned them into pressed art!

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Kindergarten students dissect flowers during a spring unit. Kindergarten students dissect flowers during a spring unit.

Flower press art in a kindergarten classroom

We had brought in the snails that we had found and created a habitat for them in our class terrarium.

Kindergarten students observe snails in their class terrarium.Kindergarten students observe snails in their class terrarium.

My students loved observing the snails and really enjoyed creating flower press art.

Kindergarten students created flower press art projects during a spring inquiry unit.

However, what really grabbed my student’s attention were the butterflies and caterpillars. I set up an investigation that encouraged my students to look closely at our butterfly models and document what they observed.

A Reggio inspired inquiry center. This center provided students the opportunity to look closer at butterflies.

My students were so inspired by this provocation that they (without prompting) got out the watercolor paints, index cards, and art supplies and started making books and posters.

A Reggio inspired inquiry center. This center provided students the opportunity to look closer at butterflies. A Reggio inspired inquiry center. This center provided students the opportunity to look closer at butterflies. A Reggio inspired inquiry center. This center provided students the opportunity to look closer at butterflies. A Reggio inspired inquiry center. This center provided students the opportunity to look closer at butterflies.

Kindergarteners created books during their butterfly unit.

A Reggio inspired inquiry center. This center provided students the opportunity to look closer at butterflies.

My young learners worked for over an hour creating books and posters to hang up in our classroom. They happily shared their books with their friends and added them to their book boxes so that they could read them again and again.

The next day my students asked if they could paint a butterfly garden as our spring mural for our classroom. They each painted a butterfly to add to the garden and then got into teams to create the sky, grass, and flowers for the mural.

Kindergarten students created a butterfly mural during their unit. Kindergarten students created a butterfly mural during their unit. Kindergarten students created a butterfly mural during their unit.

Kindergarten students created a butterfly mural during their unit. Kindergarten students created a butterfly mural during their unit.

As luck would have it, that day we found four caterpillars on one of the plants on our walk to the playground! We carefully collected them and added them to our class terrarium to observe them (one is now in its chrysalis!).

Once all the pieces of the mural dried, we assembled them.

A Reggio inspired butterfly mural made by kindergarteners

I think it came out lovely!!

On Friday, to document all that they were learning, my students were able to choose which medium they liked best and show all that they had learned this week. (I use activities like this as informal assessments.) Some students chose paint, others chose collage and loose parts, whereas others chose clay. Here are a few videos to show what they created!

Kindergarten students documented what they learned during a butterfly inquiry using clay.

You’ll never believe it, but that day we found a friendly butterfly on the playground! The kids were OVER-THE-MOON excited!!

A very happy kindergartener during a butterfly inquiry!

Finally, to round out the week, we turned ourselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper, bingo daubers, and oil pastels. To do this my students each selected the color bulletin board paper they wanted to decorate and then got to work adding decorations to their wings.

Kindergarten students turned themselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper! Kindergarten students turned themselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper!

To turn them into wings, once decorated we scrunched the paper in the middle and used half of a pipe cleaner to turn the paper into wings. We then used a piece of yarn for arm holes. We cut a long piece and then tied the ends to turn it into a loop. We placed the loop under the pipe cleaner so half of it was on both sides. Then, we tied it tightly to the pipe cleaner. This provides two arm circles. (If the circles are too big, simply have the child face you and adjust the circles by adding another knot to make the arm holes smaller. Cut off the excess yarn if you want to.) Finally, the children slipped their arms into the arm circles and happily fluttered around as butterflies!

Kindergarten students turned themselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper!


Kindergarten students turned themselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper! Kindergarten students turned themselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper!


Kindergarten students turned themselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper!

We ended the day watching Harry Kindergarten’s awesome song on the life cycle of a butterfly.

Kindergarten students turned themselves into butterflies using bulletin board paper!

I hope that you had a fantastic week as well! If you were also testing, enjoy a much deserved weekend full of relaxing! :)

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