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Kindergarten lesson - dandelions


Date: Wed May 15 2002 - 18:08:41 PDT

This is a lesson we're doing this week, as it is the height of
dandelion season here. This is a one-class lesson based on
close observation and experimentation with media.
Collect dandelions in various stages of growth... I dug one huge
one with the root, picked a batch of flowers, flowers going to seed,
and the seed puffs. Discussion included dandelion as pest, dandelion
as flower, dandelion as food, and how they grow. We looked
at how the stems grow long when they go to seed, talked about
why they might do that, we looked at the shape of the leaves
(triangles, Christmas trees, and arrows were the descriptions
children came up with), the soft light seeds, and all of the
different colors we saw in the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds.
I used a 10x18 sheet of royal blue construction paper to demo draw
at the bottom of the sheet (the long way) dandelion plants, leaves,
and stems, shorter stems for the flowers, and longer, sometimes
curly stems for the seed puffs with craypas.
Each group had two cups of tempera paint, white and yellow,
with a large watercolor brush for each color. I demoed putting a
thick round blob of paint at the top of each stem to represent the flowers
and seed puffs. After painting 3 or 4 or these, use a toothpick to draw
paint out from the middle of each paint circle to form the flower petals
and the seeds. Then continue adding paint to the other stems (Have
them stop to do the toothpick part after 3 or 4 blobs or the paint will
dry out too much.) I also showed them how after dipping the toothpick
in white paint, they could use it to paint seeds floating away in the
Before using paint for the flowers, I told the children that they could
also draw bugs and butterflies, grass and other details with the
craypas if they wished. Found it best to delay putting out the paint
as long as possible. We did it this time as bug's eye view, but I
could see doing bird's eye view as well, using green paper and
filling the whole page with dandelions, maybe a 3D thing...