Sarah Bayzick, PreKindergarten Lead Teacher
The PreKindergarteners have been engaged in seed-to-table learning throughout the fall and winter. During numerous visits to the GFA gardens, students discovered a variety of crops and studied the functions of plant roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. By harvesting crops such as carrots, herbs, hibiscus, and tomatoes, PreK came to understand that one can eat and get energy from many different parts of plants.
The students continued their explorations during a field trip to the Westport Farmers’ Market. Upon returning from the trip, one child asked, “Can we build a market at GFA?” After weeks of imagining, experimenting, and planning, the PreK Market was realized!
Students applied their scientific knowledge of plants to the design of six market stands; each plant part was represented. At one stand, students devised a (capillary action) pump system to model how stems move water from roots to leaves. They also created a leaf sugar factory, programmed robotic bees for the game Operation Pollination, and designed a puzzle to illustrate the conditions needed for seeds to germinate. On Thursday, February 16, the PreK Market was open for business. Students sold plant snacks (sweet potato root chips, celery stem snacks, mint leaf lemonade, hibiscus flower tea, tomato fruit salad, and popped-seed popcorn) to eager Kindergarten customers.
The market project demonstrates that young children can imagine, design, and execute STEAM initiatives. Scientific investigations provided a foundation for the market design. Students worked carefully to engineer market stands that represented their understanding of how plants work. Mathematical skills were necessary to complete science experiments and market construction.
The children used fine arts techniques and technological applications to communicate their knowledge to others. Most importantly, the PreKindergartners carried out this work with great joy and a spirit of play as they applied their learning to a project they cared deeply about.
To look through the PreK photo journal documenting their time producing the PreK Market, click here, and for photos from Market Day, visit our Flickr!