Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Science
- Three avocados
- Knife (for adult use)
- Medium-size glass jar
- Planter and soil
- Chart paper and marker
Show children an avocado and ask them if they know what it is. Pass it around and invite children to hold, feel, and smell it. Remind them not to squeeze it and to hold the avocado carefully before passing it on. Ask them to describe how the skin of the avocado feels, its color, its weight. What do they think is inside the avocado?
Now cut open two avocados. They will open easily if you cut them in a full circle from one side of the top stem to the other side, creating four sections. Separate each section to reveal the inside and the seed. Cut one of the avocados into small pieces and invite children to taste it.
Pass around the avocado seed for each child to hold. Ask children what they think would happen if they planted the avocado seed.
Show an empty jar and invite a child to place an avocado seed inside it. Ask another child to put water in the jar until half of the seed is covered. Then let a few other children plant the other seed in the soil. Cover the seed with additional soil and add some water. Develop a chart with the group to record what the group thinks will happen to each seed. Which seed do they think will or will not grow and why?
Find a sunny area in the room to place the seeds. Create a large calendar on a sheet of paper to record their observations about each seed. Record their dictated observations or invite a child to draw an observation on the calendar each day. Conclude the activity with a chart to summarize what they've learned.
Remember: The texture and flavor of an avocado may not appeal to some children, so be flexible. Some may want to taste it while others may just want to touch it.
Comparing seeds: Explain to families that children used an avocado for both a cooking activity and a science experiment. In addition to sending home the recipe for child-friendly guacamole, tell families about the classroom experiment.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: COOKING
Guacamole: Make this favorite Mexican dip with the group. Place the avocado in a plastic bowl and give each child a turn to mash it. Add some lemon juice and stir. Refrain from adding salsa, which is too spicy for most children. Give each child some guacamole and tortilla chips.
Feed Me!: Funky Food Science from Ethan Flask and Professor Von Offel by Anne Capeci (Scholastic, 2003; $4.50)
Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001; $9.95)
The Tortilla Factory by Gary Paulsen (Voyager Books, 1998; $7)