Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taxonomy 101

The school year has now truly begun. I taught my first Science Time classes on Monday and Tuesday. The weekly routine is complete and I don't have any more excuses to prevent me from submerging into this whole writing business. So here I blog.

Science Time started when my friend Peggy called two years ago and asked if I wanted to teach an after school preschool science program. Sure. Why not? Sounds like a good endeavor for someone who wants to write chapter books for children.

Now Peggy and I are business partners going into our third year of Science Time. My study is littered with plastic specimen jars, bug cages, googley eyes and pipe cleaners.

Usually Boxer and her children star in the first class because even the most teary eyed hesitant young three year old will crack a smile and laugh when a box turtle poops in their hand. I know my audience.

I gave the turtles a break this year because Boxer is a.w.o.l. and I hate pausing class to wash my hands.

Peggy and I taught Taxonomy 101. Can three's and four's get this? Yes. Scientists study things by sorting. So do preschoolers. We sorted each other and sorted crayons before moving on to the good stuff: cold blooded vs. warm blooded animals.

The secret to a successful Science Time class is a bullet proof message. No matter what, some part of the message needs to make it home to the parents. Even if a turtle did poop on the teacher and that's all the kids want to talk about.

This week we made a set of animal cards cut from brown paper bags with pictures glued on them. Not only is this material recycled it is durable. We punched holes in the cards and reinforced them just in case.

While the kids colored, I handed out the cards one at a time. Repetition is the key. Each time we went over what makes that animal warm blooded or cold blooded.

When we were done going through all 10 cards, the children strung them on a pipe cleaner, making a nice neat package to carry home.

The rest of the class was filled with playing the game. I would ask them to go through their cards and find a two legged warm blooded animal or a cold blooded animal with no legs. They loved it.

Next week we are teaching All Turtles Great and Small whether Boxer comes back or not.

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