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Thread: How do you teach kindergartners about cp's

  1. #1
    Not really I am Bob's Avatar
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    How do you teach kindergartners about cp's

    This is out there, but does anyone have any expierience talking to younger ones about CP's? I have volunteered to talk to pretty much the entire kindergarten department of a local school. my fear is that everything I say will be over their heads and I walk out of that room acomplishing nothing more than confusing a bunch of children! Any pointers or advice?

    Thanks,
    Steve
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    Capensis's Avatar
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    Hmm. Well, obviously you'd have to talk them in a simpler vocabulary, so I would stick to general names like "pitcher plants" and "venus flytraps." If you worry that you won't catch their attention, try to show them and have them interact with the plants (as daunting it may seem) as you talk about them. Hope this helps.
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=6789&dateline=1352508752

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    Drew's Avatar
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    well being kindergardeners i honestly dont think much will work but reeeeely cool images of all the plants lol

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I think some relevant talking points for five-year-olds about plants are:
    - Plants are living things (some kids haven't yet learned that alive is not the same as animate)
    - Plants use soil and air for raw materials the way our bodies use food (you don't need to mention that animals also derive their energy from food, while plants don't - just that plants use it to get bigger)
    - Plants can move (pictures of sunflowers are handy) and have unique strategies for surviving while rooted in the ground
    - CPs eat bugs because they don't get enough food from the soil where they live
    - "Insectivorous" means "bug eater" (always nice to throw some Latin in for the early science geeks - the roots are insectus, literally meaning notched and referring to the appearance of bug carapaces, and vorare/vorax, greedy or devouring)
    - From there you'd probably talk about the different ways that bugs are trapped - most kids at that age will probably be satisfied with the explanation that the bugs are digested in a manner similar to our own chemical process - a closer analogy like a fly secreting digestive juices on its food will go clear over their heads
    - Details about cultivation and such will probably also go over their heads - summarize your own setup in two or three sentences and emphasize that keeping them is like what you'd do for exotic animals or a tropical fishtank - there are certain conditions that have to be obeyed and it's best to learn about them first
    - Things to talk about are where the plants live, how they grow there, what they eat and why the habitat is good for CPs - be visual and descriptive, like a children's story
    - If you only have pictures of certain types of plants, try to talk about those first, because once there's something to touch and look at from different angles and stuff you'll have a hard time holding their collective attention
    - If you need to move on to the next plant and can't get the group attention, putting the first one back into a box or someplace it can't be seen works (at that age, it isn't rude or abrupt the way it would seem to adults)
    - If you have a D. capensis that curls around prey, you might try to use it for a demonstration - probably better if you know that you can get it to do so after packing it to a new location and feeding it whatever kind of captive prey you'll be using
    - VFTs are an even more dramatic choice for a demonstration, but that's dependent on you having some out of dormancy
    - Utrics in a glass jar with traps/roots visible will get a lot of attention - they'll have fun looking even if the traps aren't easily visible
    - Pictures, pictures, pictures - do a little research ahead of time and get some nice big photos, preferably of plants in the wild
    - If you have time or reason to get into matters of ecology, you could talk about the way Sarracenia put up flowers before pitchers or the cooperation between ants and Nepenthes - that CPs aren't strictly bloodthirsty enemies of insects
    Will you be speaking to all the kindergartners at the same time, or class-by-class? In small groups it's helpful to allow for more question time than your typical speech - as much as 50%. If you're going to be in a place like an auditorium, on the other hand, you might have a digital projector available, which would be more effective and affordable than printed pictures. A computer with a webcam makes a handy enlarger for that kind of presentation, as well.
    Best luck,
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    swords's Avatar
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    Joe pretty much covered everything, I just want to second having live plants for them to look at and touch. Pictures are good but nothing gets kids attention more than being able to see and touch things in person. Getting a few VFTs to close just as a demo will certainly hold their attention. You can use a reptile feeding tongs and dehydrated crickets to show how the hairs have to be triggered a certain number of times within a certain number of seconds before they'll activate. If you don't have any non-dormant VFTs Lowes usually has them year round.

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    Make sure your plants don't get swarmed by five-year-olds and torn to pieces!

    I agree with seedjar, but I want two add a few things:

    1. Specifically mention the fact that VFTs don't live in the jungle, but in North America.

    2. At that age, there are still people who think that CPs can eat people, fingers, etc. and may be scared of them!

    3. If you happen to have some D. burmannii, that would work even better than D. capensis because the tentacles move much faster, to the point where the curling around prey is clearly visible in about 30 seconds if an insect is placed on it.

    EDIT: Don't forget to mention a bit about conservation! The details may be a bit over their heads, but keep it simple and mention that they are in danger and dying out!
    "Potential has a shelf life." -Margaret Atwood
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    2. At that age, there are still people who think that CPs can eat people, fingers, etc. and may be scared of them!
    You could also tell them that even adults used to think it was possible with the explorers tale of "The Maneating Tree of Madagascar". Someone showed an old woodcut illustration on here a while ago of the supposed plant, it would be a good opportunity to show the fantasy/rumor and the reality.

    Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man-eating_tree

    The image I was talking about is actually on that page.

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    Its a brand new school, so every room has a projector and a computer hooked up to it. I was definatly planning on taking many of my tropicals, and hopefully a few of my temperates like the bigger sarrs and vft's. I'm not presenting until april/march, but are there any tricks to bring some plants out of dormancy early? I think that they would love to see the vft and if I had a D. burmannii, I would definatly take it (unfortunatly I don't; anyone felling charitable...) I also am talking to a few third grade classes this year, and I did last year. Some went out and bought plants at Lowe's (Gasp, I know!) I enjoy educating the younger children, especially because I found this addiction in the third grade. Thanks for all of the advice so far.
    my growlist
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    Man who run in front of car get tired; man who run behind car get exhausted.

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