Then, I explained how the process of photosynthesis is like baking a chocolate chip cookie and we did the lesson with the green silk and the elements cards (6 Carbon, 12 Hydrogen, 18 Oxygen) which I wrote about previously in my Photosynthesis and Respiration post for the human body.
Next, the girls acted out the process of plants and humans interacting as they, in turn, give off and take in carbon dioxide and oxygen. This lesson plan is available for free on my website as a pdf and it makes a fun dance... if you can call Red Blood Cell (child #1) running furiously through the kitchen while I yell "take the oxygen to the whole body" a dance... as she tears back into the living room to deliver the carbon dioxide waste to the Lungs (child #2), who then breathes it out to Plant (child #3).
Without skipping a beat the Plant takes the carbon dioxide in, raises the mallet and rings the chime to show that she has made a sugar, and the Lungs are back to breathing in that byproduct oxygen and the Red Blood Cell is back to running through the house.
Then we were off to the sunny tabletop Botany display on the buffet in my dining room, checking out the science experiments from my other science club. These students also reviewed photosynthesis and then set up experiments to explore the vascular tissue in celery (which is needed to bring the water from the root system up to each leaf... without this photosynthesis cannot take place). I love Asia Citro's science book for young kids because she gives a provocative question but then allows the children to create their own experiment set-up each time.
In this particular experiment the kids were testing to see what celery would transport in addition to water. We have cups of water with food coloring, maple syrup, brown sugar, salt, and peppermint extract. We even have a split stalk of celery with one piece in a cup of water with yellow coloring and the other in a cup of water with red coloring, to see if the leaves will turn orange! The children are very excited to see the results of the colored water... and they are even more excited to taste the celery in a few days to see if the flavors will also travel up the celery and affect the taste of it. This is the ONLY experiment in the book where you get to taste your results!
It is interesting, by the way, to see how kids design their own experiments. No matter how many times you tell them that they have to include a control, or that they can only change one variable at a time, they still don't get it until they have to design their own experiments. For this particular activity, I find it's also helpful to have a variety of measuring spoons and measuring cups on the table. This way, they can SEE how much a measurement is before they put it in their experiment design. One 8 year old boy wanted to add a cup and a half of salt to his water! Once he saw how big a cup was, he changed it to 1 teaspoon.
After my older group of science club kids (today's group) had looked at what the other children did, they moved on to the microscopes and we examined English ivy leaves under the microscope to see their stomata and then drew what we saw. The girls remarked that the leaf looked like a sweater which someone had poked huge holes in! If you want a simple page with circles on it and room for some notes, I recommend the Microscope Drawings Handout on TpT. It's free and quite handy.
If you like the idea of having children create analogies while they do their scientific sketches, you will really enjoy The Private Eye® 5X Looking/Thinking by Analogy - A Guide to Developing the Interdisciplinary Mind. We used this book extensively as part of the stream study work over several years at my old Montessori school and it was wonderful! You do need to buy a jeweler's loupe for each child.
Just today the Parenting Passageway blog came out with a wonderful post about 8th grade Organic Chemistry along with some ideas I hadn't seen before. I'm excited about incorporating her suggestions into what I already had planned!
This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!