Theme: Outdoor Classroom

Nature's Beauty


Objective: Children will use their senses to investigate flowers and will press flowers to preserve them.

 

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What You Will Need

  • An outdoor area where flowers are present (see Lesson Tips)
  • Flowers – 2 per child
  • Magnifying glasses
  • White drawing paper – 1 sheet per child
  • Crayons or markers
  • Newspaper – 1 sheet per child
  • Heavy books (used as weights to press flowers) – 1 per child

What To Do

Note: This lesson involves a walk outside.

  1. Tell the children that they will be going for a nature walk to find flowers.
  2. Take the children for a walk outside.
  3. As the children find flowers, have them describe the flowers (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  4. If possible, allow each child to collect 2 flowers (see Lesson Tips), and return to the classroom.
  5. Distribute magnifying glasses.
  6. Encourage the children to study the different parts of the flowers with the magnifying glasses and share their observations.
  7. Tell the children that the flowers will quickly wilt.
  8. Explain that flowers can be dried and pressed to preserve their beauty.
  9. Place each flower face-down on a sheet of newspaper.
  10. Cover with another sheet of newspaper.
  11. Place a heavy book on top and leave it in place for at least 2 weeks.
  12. Carefully remove the flowers, and have the children add them to their journals.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe the color of the flower.
  • Tell me about the petals.
  • Describe how the petals feel.
  • Tell me how the stem is different from the petals.
  • Describe the flower’s smell.
  • Explain where you found this flower.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Extend this lesson to explain how seeds from flowers can grow into new plants. Using marigold flowers, allow the flowers to wither and dry. Have the children help gently pull the dried petals from the stem of the plant. Give each child a small, clear, resealable plastic bag. Have them place a few seeds on a wet paper towel and seal in the bag. Tape the bags to a sunny window. Roots will appear in a day or two. In a week, plant the seedlings in cups of soil.
  • Extend this lesson to show the children how the stem of a flower works to get water to the leaves and petals. Place a white carnation in a clear container filled with water. Place a few drops of blue food coloring in the water. After several hours, the tips of the leaves and petals of the flower will turn blue, demonstrating how the flower stem carries water to the leaves and petals.
  • Choose several different flowers to display. Have the children make predictions about the number of petals that each flower has. Record which flower they think has the most petals and which has the least number of petals. Write their guesses on a sheet of paper. Have the children help count the petals and compare the actual counts to their predictions.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe the color of the flowers?
  • Could children describe the petals?
  • Could children describe how the petals feel?
  • Could children tell ways how the stem is different from the petals?
  • Could children describe the smell?
  • Could children explain where they found this flower?

Did You Know?

Flowers are called “blooms” or “blossoms” and are part of a plant. Flowers grow on the stem or stalk of the plant. The stalk needs to be strong enough to support the flower. The part of the flower that holds the petals inside is the part where the seeds are produced. Flowers are the tools that plants use to make their seeds.

Flowers are nature’s beauty and can grow almost anywhere there is soil, water, and sunlight. Some flowers, like crocuses, can push through the snow. Sometimes flowers even appear in the cracks of the sidewalk! Many plants, such as strawberry, pea, bean, and pumpkin plants, make flowers that become the fruit or vegetables that we pick and eat.

Did You Know?

Flowers are called “blooms” or “blossoms” and are part of a plant. Flowers grow on the stem or stalk of the plant. The stalk needs to be strong enough to support the flower. The part of the flower that holds the petals inside is the part where the seeds are produced. Flowers are the tools that plants use to make their seeds.

Learn More

Vocabulary

  • nature – the physical world and things in their natural state.
  • flower – the part of a plant that makes fruit or seeds.
  • dry – not wet; without water.
  • press – to push down firmly on something.
  • preserve – to keep safe from loss in order to last a long time.
  • beauty – a pleasant sight to see.

Vocabulary

  • nature
  • flower
  • dry
  • press
  • preserve
  • beauty

Child-Friendly Definitions

Lesson Tips

  • Any type of flower—such as wildflowers, clover, or dandelions—can be used for this project. If there are not enough flowers outside for the entire class, purchase some inexpensive flowers for the children to investigate and press.
  • If your center is not near an area where wildflowers are available, take the children to a garden or park where they can observe flowers that have been planted there. Purchase inexpensive flowers for the children to press.

Books

  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
  • Look! Flowers! by Stephanie Calmenson
  • Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
  • Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson

Common Core State
Standards Initiative

These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.[2]

Visit the CCSS website

Important Legal Disclosures & Information

  1. While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed. 

  2. There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.