Thursday, 6 June 2013

Science in the Garden

As we continue to spend more time learning science in the garden, we attended a workshop at the Chelsea Physic Garden on this topic.  The garden is an interesting place, to say the least, and its history stretched as far back as 1673.  For a start, we saw the Wardian Case which was invented in 1829 to transport exotic plants on sea.

The garden is home to many plants that are used for medicinal purposes, for example the the Ayurveda tree from India, a cork tree, a Scopolia Carniolica plant (used as a painkiller), and mandrake plants (used extensively in the Middle Ages).

In the small greenhouse, the children were given an introduction to exotic plants such as the cacti, pepper corns, and the pitcher plant.  Our guide talked about how the structure of each type of plant is useful for adaptation to its environment.

In the bigger greenhouse, we saw more plants that have originated from tropical countries: tamarind, black pepper, vanilla, coffee, ginger, and pak choi.

The children spent some time at pond dipping and trying to identify interesting creatures that were caught in their trays.

Pond dipping is not new to Tiger, but what we found most interesting was that there were frog spawn and toad spawn very close to each other in the same pond.  Do you know how to tell them apart?  Apparently, frog spawn comes in a clump, while toad spawn is the stringy one.

Frog spawn - in a clump.
Toad spawn - stringy.
Being in a garden, the children then planted a few seeds in pots to take home for germination.

After our time outdoors, we went indoors to the education room where there were more samples of plants, seeds, and seed pods.

The children were given the task to examine the leaves, seeds, and pods under the microscope to: (1) draw the seeds as they appear under the microscope, and (2) determine how they are dispersed.

Finally, the children dissected the flowers that they collected from outside and labled the various parts of the flowers accordingly.

This post is linked up to:
  1. Spring Carnival
  2. Hobbies and Handicrafts - June 7
  3. Collage Friday - The Week of Practicum
  4. Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the Grumbling
  5. Science Sunday: Nature Study for your kiddos
  6. Hip Homeschool Hop - 6/11/13


  1. Oooh. I'm going to suggest looking at seeds under the microscope to my son. I like that idea.

  2. I didn't know that about frog and toad spawn. I learn something new everyday!

  3. Thank you for stopping by, Claire and Julie! I always find myself learning something new or getting ideas from workshops that we attend. It's interesting to learn from other educators. :-)

  4. I love those sort of workshops - we've done a few at RHS Wisley near us. Your photos are wonderful. I will look out for a visit there, for sure. And thank you for teaching me the difference between frog and toad spawn!

  5. Wow, this looks like so much fun! I might have to work on getting a garden like this going. I especially loved the pond dipping. :)

  6. I had to laugh at cacti being an exotic plant. I tend to think of it more as something rather annoying.


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