Science is a field of studies which all, both young and old, can enjoy. The experiences had from hand-on activities can lead to a life long love of the field of science. Young children especially benefit from activities that include both literary knowledge and hands-on experiments. When all the five senses are engaged in the learning process the results tend to be a more permanent type of learning. While those facts committed to memory through rote style learning may endure for a limited period of time, the experiences learned in the actual performance of a task seem to last for a more extended period of time. It is my own personal experience to recall the knowledge and activities in which I was an active participant more clearly and in more detail than the knowledge gained by rote. The seminar of photosynthesis therefore lends itself to be an excellent source for the active involvement of the children in the learning process.
The New Haven Public School system has made literacy its top priority to the exclusion of most other courses of study. Through the use of the balanced literacy program, the system plans to increase the reading competency of all its students. Balanced literacy involves more than just a student’s ability to read the printed page. Balanced literacy incorporates the children’s desire to learn to read and write, the development of language concepts, the ability to apply phonemic awareness as the child encounters unfamiliar words, to increase vocabulary and the understanding and usage of letters and letter sounds.
In this unit, I propose to integrate science into the literary component of the school curriculum while studying the importance of plants to most forms of life and the process of photosynthesis. The activities included in this unit are intended to incorporate reading, writing, math, social studies, and art/drama into the science activities. By capitalizing on the child’s innate curiosity, I hope to motivate them to become actively involved in what they are learning. This unit is written for children in kindergarten but can easily be adapted for children in grades one through four. Through this involvement, it is hoped that they will have learning experiences that will not be soon forgotten.
The format of this unit is more of a story form jumpstarting with the children receiving a letter from a popular story character and working the unit from that point forward.