SCIENCE: Labeling the Parts of a Flower

Objective: Students will learn the anatomy of a flower by creating their own 3D flower.

Vocabulary: Petal, Sepal, Stem, Stamen, Pistil, Stigma, Style, Ovary, Anther and Filament

Time: A 2 Day project, approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Difficulty Level: *****

What You Will Need: Wire (14 gauge armature wire works best), Popsicle sticks, straws,  Acrylic Gloss Medium or Mod Podge, Acrylic Paints, Aluminum foil, Green electrical tape or Duct tape, Model Magic and small cups or containers.


Preparing for Project:

1. You will need to cut wire to approximately 9 inches.  You will need 6 of these wires for each student. You will also need to cut wire to 3 inches.  You will need 6 of these wires for each student also.DSCN0512

2. Tear a 6 inch strip of Aluminum foil for each student.

3. Pour approximately 3-4 tablespoons of Gloss Medium or Mod Podge into the cups or containers (this can be done up to an hour before students begin the activity). You will need 1 cup for each student.

Project Time:

DAY 1:

DSCN05131. Pass out the 6 long wires to each student.  Have the students bend their wires in half.  Using their hands, have the students turn their wires into the shape of a football, leaving the bottom inch pinched together (see picture below).  This will soon become their petals.

DSCN05142. Have the students lay their 6 wire petals down on the aluminum foil and flatten the wires as best as they can.


3.  Pass out the Acrylic Gloss Medium to the students.  After students have arranged their petals on the foil, they may add 3-4 drops of acrylic paint into their medium.  Do not use tempera paint.  This will make the petals crack.  Mix the medium and paint together.

4. When students have combined their mixture, they can then pour their mixture into the center of the petals. Use Popsicle sticks to spread the mixture even.  Students will want to make sure that the mixture is touching, even slightly overlapping their wires on all sides.


5.  Set the petals aside to dry overnight. Sometimes moving the petals can be tricky. If you can place trays, place mats, or even tag board, under the foil before you start, I’ve found that it is much easier to move the wet artwork.


6.  Pass out the 3 inch wires and a quarter sized piece of model magic to each student.

DSCN0520DSCN05197.  Have students tear a tiny piece of model magic and roll it into a Tic-Tac shape.  Students can add the piece of clay to the end of a 3 inch wire. Repeat this step until all 6 wires have the Tic-Tac shaped Anther.


8. Take the remaining clay and mold a Pistil.  Place the stamen and pistils next to their petals to dry.


DAY 2:

1.  Have students peel their petals off of the aluminum foil (kids LOVE this part). If any of the mixture seeped out  past the wire, students can use scissors to trim the excess.

2. Pass out a straw to each student.  Push each stamen inside of the end of the straw and wrap with tape.IMG_2128



IMG_21293. Take three of your petals and arrange them around the top edge of the straw. Secure the petals with tape. Then take the remaining petals and arrange them between each of the first three petals.  Secure with tape.

4. You can make Sepal by cutting a few rectangle pieces of tape. Fold the edge of the tape diagonally.  The exposed tapeIMG_2130 at the bottom can be used to adhere the sepal to the straw.  With green tape, wrap the end of the wires, all the way down to the bottom of the straw.

5.  Gently have the students bend the wires of the petals outward.


IMG_2131IMG_21326. place a generous amount of glue at the center of the flower and place your pistil at the center.  It is important that the flower is standing to dry.



Assessment: When the flowers are dry, students can use pins to label the parts of the flower.  If your students have iPads, they can take a photograph of their flower and label the photograph. Frappuccino bottles, or other glass bottles are a great way to display their amazing work!

WRITING: Introduction to How-To writing

Objective: Students will discover the importance of descriptive language in expository writing through this exercise.

Vocabulary: adjective

Time: Approximately 1 hour 

Difficulty: *****

What You Will Need: 9×12 paper, manilla envelopes, writing paper, pencils, crayons, rulers, and other drawing materials.

Preparing For The Project: Introduce How-To writing to your students.  Reading a how-to essay to the class, or following the steps of a how-to essay are both great ways to help students to understand the direction their work will need to take.  For a couple of great illustrations and writing prompts, check out this blog:

Discuss with your students how important it is to consider each step carefully as they prepare to describe the process they are about to explain.  As a common illustration of this, I’ve seen teachers bring a loaf of bread and some jelly to the classroom. The teacher will ask the class to explain how to make a jelly sandwich.  Many times, a student will offer the instruction, “Spread the jelly on the bread,” and the teacher will smear jelly over the bag of bread.  Because the students’ assumed that the teacher would already know that he or she should take the bread out of the bag, they forget to include the instruction. 

Illustrating how important descriptive language is in how-to writing is often very beneficial to the students as well.  Similar to the illustration above, a student may offer, “Put the jelly on the bread,” as a sufficient instruction.  Often times the teacher will place the whole jar of jelly on top of the bread.  Using specific adjectives and other descriptive language helps the audience to understand the instruction given.  In this case, spread would be a much more descriptive verb than put.

To Illustrate this further, students  will help a classmate create a work of art. 

Project time:

1. It is now your students’ turn to practice how-to writing. Pass out drawing paper, writing paper, pencils, rulers and crayons to the students.  Students can work independently to draw and write their instructions. The assignment is for students to  describe how to draw a clown for a classmate.  As they draw on one piece of paper,  they will also write the steps of how to draw their clown on their writing paper.  Remind them to use their details generously.  Is the paper landscape or portrait? What materials come first?  What size is each shape?  Where does each shape belong? What is the name given on the crayon that is being used? Can another child repeat what I am drawing without seeing the artwork? Students should use as many of the tools as they can to be as descriptive as possible.  Give students approximately 45 minutes to draw and write. DSCN0638 DSCN0637 DSCN0649

2. When the students have finished their drawing and their writing ask them to double check their work.  Students will then slip their drawings into the manilla envelope and staple the instructions to the outside of the envelope.


3. Later, pass out another piece of drawing paper and the sealed envelops to a different student, or if you have the luxury, trade your packet with the packet from another class in your grade level.  The object is to give the packet to a student who is unfamiliar with the artwork inside. 

4. Students will follow the steps that were written on the front of the envelope give to them.  Invite the students to be as literal about the instructions they are following as you were when you put the jar of jelly on the bread.  The exercise works best if students do not assume any missing information.  Students will need about 15 minutes to complete the steps on the envelope. 


5. Allow time for your class to meet and collaborate with the writer of their packets.  Discuss what important information was missing, and how the writer could have instructed their audience more effectively.  Allow time for students to give positive feedback as well.  

Assessment:  Students should have access to the drawing that was made from their writing.  Guide the students through a self-assessment process, or create a rubric for students to gauge their level of success in the exercise.  For further illustration, find a few students who may be willing to volunteer their writing to be an example to the class.  As a class, re-write the steps. Post them on your classroom blog and a invite readers to respond with a photo!

WRITING: Awesome Alliteration Activity

IMG_2163Objective: Students will be able to create alliterations based on the poem “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” By Jack Prelutsky.

Vocabulary: Alliteration

Time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes

Difficulty: *****

What You Will Need: 12X18 Paper, Pencils, Sharpies, and Colored Pencils or Crayons

Preparing For The Project:

Introduce the concept of Alliteration to your students. Read the poem, “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” by Jack Prelutsky to the students.  If you would prefer, there is a clever video of a man reading the poem in a silly voice with fun animation on You Tube. The link is below:

Work through the different flavors of ice cream with the students and decide which flavors are alliterations and which flavors are not (for example, “Cocoa Mocha Macaroni” is not an alliteration, but “Checkerberry Cheddar Chew” is).

On A piece of scratch paper, have the students write out a list of 5 new Bleezer-style flavors that are alliterations. To make the flavors crazy, I often ask them to pair 1 dinner flavor with 1 dessert flavor (Taco Tapioca Twist).  I also advise the students to keep their flavors to food items only, or some students have the tendency to become gruesome.  Finally I write a list of adjectives we might typically see at the end of ice cream flavors.  Here is my list:

Twist, Dip, Swirl, Sherbet, Nut, Fudge, Chip, Chunk, Chew, Cluster, Ripple, and Ribbon

Project time:

1. Guide the student through the drawing process using the drawing guide PDF below.

Bleezer’s Ice Cream

2. Pass out crayons or Colored pencils and allow the students to color their work.  Have the students think about their flavors, and encourage them to chose their colors based on their original Bleezer-style flavors.  As students are coloring their work, I walk around and correct spelling.

3. Students can write their flavors in their best penmanship along side their ice cream scoops. If I have time, I lightly write lines with a ruler that students can use as a guide for writing.

Assessment: Hang the artwork around the room.  Have students make a list of their favorite alliterations from their classmates’ work.  Discuss their findings.  If students have access to ipads, students could blog about their experience and post a picture of their work.  Students could ask readers to respond to their post by providing their own Bleezer-style ice cream alliteration.  Teachers can tweet a link to student blogs for more traffic; the #commentsforkids will guide other educators to interact with your students’ writings. 

READING COMPREHENSION: Calling All Illustrators!

Objective: Students will be able to exercise their reading comprehension skills by creating an illustration that uses as many of the story’s details as possible. 

Vocabulary: adjective/detail

Time:45 minutes

Difficulty: *****

What You Will Need: Paper, Pencils, Erasers, Colored Pencils, Sharpies and Reading Comprehension Stories (PDF below)

Preparing For The Project: Read through the 8 short stories in the PDF below.  Choose one story and make enough copies for each student.  READING COMPREHENSION STORIES

Project time:

1.At the beginning of the project.  Read the story you’ve chosen to aloud to the class. Be expressive and emphasize as many of the adjectives as you can to help students retain the information.  Send the students to their seats and ask them to begin to illustrate the story only using the details in the story.  Give them about 5 minutes to draw.

2. Pass out the stories to the students. Ask students to follow along with you as you read aloud again.  Ask the students to flip their story over and continue to illustrate only using the details in the story.  Give them another 5 minutes to draw.

3.  Allow the students to read their stories silently to themselves.  As they read, allow them to underline details that they forgot in their story.  Then have the students flip their papers over again and allow them to finish their drawings.

4.  As they finish drawing they can trace over their pencil lines with sharpie and color their work. 

Assessment: This project is a great item to put out on a bulletin board.  Post the story and your students illustrations.  You can also guide students through a self-assessment activity, where students can read through the story again.  If they added the detail into their illustration they can circle the adjective, if they forgot it they can underline it. 

MATH: Fraction Friends

Objective: Students will be able to distinguish pieces of a whole, recognized through physical mass and expressed through fractions.

Vocabulary: fractions, whole, half, quarter, eighth

Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: *****

What You Will Need: Model Magic Clay, Pencil, Markers, and a Fraction Worksheet (download PDF) Fraction Turtle

Preparing For The Project: This project is not meant to introduce fractions but to support the concepts you are already teaching.  If you have not discussed fractions, it may be necessary to pre-teach the concepts.  Print off a Fraction Turtle PDF for each student. Separate model magic for each of your students.  Usually I separate one 2 ounce pouch for 5 students. 

Project time:

1. As you are passing out the clay, students can play and roll the clay around.  If you are using model magic, the clay works better after it has been warmed by the students hands.  If you chose another air dry clay, you may want the children to refrain from playing with it as it may dry out and crumble. 

2.  Have the students hold their clay up in the air.  Right now they have one whole piece of clay.  To the best of their ability, have students break their clay into 2 equal halves. and place their clay in the boxes labelled 1/2 on their worksheet. Check for understanding.     DSCN0593                DSCN0594

3. Have the students grab 1 half of their clay and hold it up in the air.  DSCN0596Have them separate their clay into two equal parts. and move the pieces down to the boxes labelled 1/4.  Now our clay is separated into one half and 2 quarters.  Does this work?  If we add it all up does it still make one whole?  Repeat this step with the other half piece of clay.  Now we have 4 quarters. Does this still equal one whole?

4. With each quarter, follow the same step. DSCN0597Move the clay down into the 1/8 box.  As the students separate their clay, continue to ask questions for understanding  (i.e. We have 2 eighths and 3 quarters, does this equal a whole?).

5. Once we have 8 eighths, we may begin creating our clay turtle.  Ask the students DSCN0603to grab 2/8 clay and roll it into a sphere. If you would prefer not to paint your turtles later, model magic can be dyed using markers.  Put out a few different shades of green.  before students make their shapes, they can add color to their clay and mix it in.  This is a great alternative to painting in your classroom.

6. Ask the students to flatten their sphere.  I tell my students not to flatten their sphere like a pancake, but like a pebble. This is the body of their turtle.  For understanding, you can ask the students how much clay is left on their fraction sheet.  For advanced primary students, you can even ask them to simplify the the fraction.

DSCN06047.  Ask the students to grab one eighth of clay off of the worksheet and roll it into a sphere.  This will be the head of the turtle.  Without removing the clay from the table, add the head to the body of your turtle.  How much clay, have we used so far?  Can we simplify that fraction?

8. Ask the students to grab one eighth of the clay and tear it into two equal parts.  We now have separated 1/8 into 2/16.  Repeat this with another piece of clay.  DSCN0605Your worksheet should look like this.  We will be using all four pieces for the legs.  Have the students roll the clay into cylinders. DSCN0608Attach the clay to the body of the turtle. Gently press with your fingers where the body and the leg meet, as to keep the legs from falling off when the clay has dried.

9. Using one-eighth clay, we are going to add details to our turtle.  Start by ripping a small piece from  your clay and form it into a cone.  This can be added to the body as a tail. DSCN0609 Taking two pieces of clay, students can roll them into spheres and flattened on the face for eyes.  Students can take two smaller pieces and roll them into spheres for the pupils. DSCN0611 Using the rest of that one-eighth piece of clay, students can create toenails for their turtles.  DSCN0612

10. To finish our turtle, we must make a shell!  Take the remaining two-eighths clay and roll the clay into a coil or “snake.”  The goal in rolling a coil is to try to keep it even.  As students roll their clay, they should be looking to see if they have wider and thinner areas along the length of their coil.  If a student has a very thick area, they can focus on rolling that area more.  If the clay is too thin in areas, they are pressing to firmly, and may need to start over.  When DSCN0614each student has a coil, roll the coils up like a snail shell.  First fold the first bit of clay over on itself like a hook, then roll the clay around it until the clay is gone. DSCN0615

11.  The turtle shell can be added to the top of the turtle.  Students should press gently to allow the clay to adhere to itself.  To add pattern, students can poke dots in the middle of the clay with a pencil. DSCN061812. Using a pen cap, or the side of a spoon, you can help the students to add a smile under their eyes.  Allow 24 hours to dry.

13. PAINT AND ENJOY!  A great way to give these turtles a polished look is to spray them with a gloss varnish or to paint them with acrylic gloss medium.

Assessment: Students can display their turtles with decals or flags that show the fractions used to create their turtle.