This morning, we took a walking field trip to the Chichester Science Center to visit Longwood’s Greenhouse! The Greenhouse is home to several hundred species of plants of all shapes and sizes. The children were fascinated with the variety that they observed! Dr. Mark Fink, director of the greenhouse, gave us a personal tour of the facility.
We learned that the Humid Room is home to plants that thrive in jungle-like conditions. The children recognized some plants, including ferns, from their homes and at school. We also got to see a coffee plant and a rubber tree!
Of most interest to the children was the hydroponics system. They enjoyed watching to see if they could spot the fish swimming in the water. Dr. Fink explained that the hydroponics system was part of a student-led research project!
Next, we visited the Dry Room, home to plants that live in dry, arid conditions. The inhabitants of this room provoked a great deal of conversation among the children! The children were quick to notice the sharp edges on many of these plants. Some of the children were a bit intimidated by these features. Lane described the room as “spooky because there are cactuses in there that will poke me!” Dalton described the plants as “pokey.” When Ms. Woods asked Dalton why he thought the plants were “pokey”, Dalton responded “they are pokey so they can protect themselves from other animals!” Olivia was especially appreciative of the pink flowers on one of the cacti, noting that it was “very pretty!”
The children made connections to our school garden as they observed the greenhouse. Lane and Beau noted the soil in the bottom of many containers was similar to the soil that our garden plants grow in at school. We also observed some of the tools in the greenhouse used to care for the plants, which were similar to the tools we use at school and at home.
Gardening and caring for our plants continues to be a strong area of interest for the children. We will continue to pursue this interest in our project work in the coming weeks!