Tuesday, March 29, 2011

JMG this week

We are loving our Junior Master Garden Class!!  It is so fun to go out in our yard and explore and learn!

This week we are talking about plant parts – which my kids really knew already, but that is okay!  We still talked about the different parts : stem, roots, leaves, flowers, fruit, and buds.  Then we studies the different kinds of roots : taproot or fibrous.

We still had some daylilies hanging around on the ground so we looked at taproot with them and then we pulled some weeds & grass as saw the fibrous roots there.  Then the kids sketched each type of root and listed some plants they thought were under each.  Pretty cool.

Next we are going to do a Variable Menu Project.  We are going to plant beans in 3 different pots, the same size and all, same location, same water, but we are going to use 3 different kinds of “soil”.  We are going to use potting soil that I purchased, soil from our ground (sandy), and then I think some woodchips.  So the kids can make hypotheses about which they think will do better, then in a few days we will start studying the differences.  Should be interesting!

Meanwhile, my oldest is doing a mini-study of Guinea Fowl since we like them but do not know much about them.  He should get it on his blog this week, if he does I will post a link here!  Fun learning around here!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

JMG–Plant Growth and Development

Lesson #1 & #2

# 1 - Importance and Uses of Plants

We are learning how plants are used in our every day life this week.  We have talked about what our world would look like without plants :

  • we could not breath
  • animals would die
  • no clothes
  • bugs would die

For our project we are going to make a plant sandwich by pressing a flower or plant leaf in between some paper and put it in a thick book to press it out.

#2 – Plant Classification

Our next task is to talk about how we can group different plants to help us identify them and learn more about them.

We talked about

Monocot – parallel veins

Dicot – netted veins

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and we collected different leaves from around our house as examples to make rubbings from them.

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We also talked about different kinds of leaf edges – another way to identify a group of trees – and study similarities.

Entire – smooth edge 

Serrate – obviously a serrated edge

denticulate – a very tight jagged edge

lobed – big loopy lobes

We were able to find each leaf edge type – but only dicot leaves here around our house.

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I think the kids learned some, but certainly got excited about learning more nature stuff, they had fun making rubbings and identifying their leaves.  I know we are going to love this program!!

JMG : Junior Master Gardener


I am so excited that we are starting up a JMG group in our County through 4H!  The extension agent suspected that we would have about 10 kids come, would you believe that right now we have 16+ already signed up and we are expecting more?!  I am so excited!  (I know, I said that already)

We are going to have the meetings at our house once a month.  There is a Leader Handbook and student handbooks that go along with the program.  The kids have between 4-7 tasks to do at home, and there are a number that they can choose from for each task.  Then when we all get together we get to do another batch of tasks to reinforce the concepts and learn as a group. 

So, we are about to embark on our first month of tasks, all three boys will be participating and hopefully get certified!  Not sure what the certification will do for them, but it sure cannot hurt!

So, stay tuned to see what we are learning as we get certified!  We are going to learn lots plants, soil, careers, and much more!!