Today, we invited children to participate in a small group discussion focused on two big questions: What do we know bout trees? and What do we still want to learn? In three small group sessions, the children shared with us their knowledge and theres, and we identified a few unanswered questions.
During one discussion, the children focused on the tree in the outdoor classroom, right outside the window:
Grace: I do not want that tree to fall down.
Rachael: why would it fall down?
Jossie: Because it's windy!
Rachael: Do you think this tree is strong enough?
Leigh: If it's super duper big, it’s strong.
Jossie: But if it's tiny it's not going to fall down ‘cause the ground so close to it.
Grace: But when they have tiny branches they fall down.
Jossie: But I've seen a tiny tree with its roots all out because someone was planting it. But I saw the roots and they were tiny, and then when they put more dirt on it. And I saw it and I did not even see that it was falling down.
Grace: No, it takes a long time for a tree to fall down.
Rachel: Does anyone remember when we couldn't touch the trees at Tudor place?
Jossie: Because some trees were sick and some were not sick.
Kian: So if you touch a sick tree and then a healthy tree and then then the healthy tree are going to get not healthy tree.
In another group, each participant was interested in a different aspect of trees. Austin shared his knowledge about how paper and houses are made from trees. Rowan was interested in the sturdiness of trees and their root systems. Margret and Lou Lou shared their knowledge about tree bark and sap:
Margaret: When bark comes off the tree, it usually heals, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Lisa: That’s a really good observation. Why do you think it doesn’t heal sometimes?
Margaret: 'Cause sometimes bees sting it and that’s why the bark won’t heal. And guess what? Also, bees make honey and they make honey flowers.
Lou Lou: So, zap is in trees, and it’s clear.
Lisa: And what is the sap exactly? We saw some in our classroom and we know it’s clear, but what do you think the sap is?
Louise: It's for the trees.
Lisa: But what does it do for the trees?
Rowan: Protects it, and the bark.
Lou Lou: No, it doesn’t protect it. The bark protects it.
Rowan: There are two things that protect it. The zap and the bark. The zap makes the bark stick to the tree.
Lou Lou: The zap protects the tree and it makes all the bark stick to it.
In the course of this discussion, we encountered several mysteries. Louise said that her favorite thing about trees is the flowers, especially the pink ones. Her unanswered question: "How do they grow?"
Elle explained that trees "Break off the seeds and then they spread out the seeds and they can make new plants in the floor if they spread out seeds. They spread out, they cut open and they take a long time and they grow baby trees." But how do the seeds spend out, and why?
It is amazing how much we've noticed and how much we've learned, but even more exciting is all the questions that we continue to generate. We have three weeks of school left and lots to explore. We may not answer all of our questions, but we will keep noticing, thinking, theorizing, discussing, and wondering.
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.