This should be tattooed on the back of every teacher's hand lest they forget.
This week, I forgot.
A chance comment two minutes into the start of yesterday's science revealed that about half of my class didn't think plants were living things. Now, I know they are only 6 or 7, but this is not the first (or even the second!) time they have studied plants, so I was floored. Serves me right, as I had assumed that this was a given.
Never Assume Anything.
So the science planned was thrown out of the window as we addressed this. First of all, they had to talk in pairs about whether they thought plants were living things or not and why. I waspleased that a number of the children applied a (to me) good sense of logic - if it can die, it must have been alive. However, one little girl told her partner confidently that plants couldn't be alive because they didn't have a face. Her partner was nearly tearing his hair out with frustration as he presented her with evidence - they grow, they die, they need watering - to no avail.
Next they brainstormed all the ways they knew an animal was alive. After a good discussion about these life processes, they then had to review what they knew about plants and compare it to the life processes. They agreed as a class that plants need water (and compost is a bit like food too), they grow, they reproduce and they die. We set up the plants on the windowsill with the flowers turned away from the sun, to see if they would turn towards the light (like someone had noticed sunflowers did). Therefore, since three out of the seven life processes were covered (and one was about to be tested) plus the fact that it could die, the children then agreed that plants were indeed living.
All, that is except my cherub who said: "But I still don't think it's living. It doesn't have a face"
Dunno what that says about the thinking skills in my class.
Any suggestions on how to tackle this one, PLEASE leave a comment.
If you want me, I'll be in the garden, checking the daffodils for facial features...