Where’s Aaron: FOUNDATION - Science - Elaborate
The class is taking turns hosting ‘Aaron’ the class mascot. It is Little J’s turn so Little J, Nanna, Big Cuz, and Old Dog take Aaron on Country to look for mica rock, and along the way they photograph the expedition. Distracted by the events of the day, Little J loses Aaron and the family enrols the help of Uncle Mick, a Search and Rescue officer, to return him.
Elaborate - Share observations and ideas
Theme - MATERIALS
After viewing Little J & Big Cuz Episode 8 ‘Where’s Aaron?’, engage students with the following activities to support their investigation natural materials and processed materials, including plants, seeds and grasses, and their observable properties.
In this episode, Big Cuz finds a Batswing Coral Tree which drops Inernte seeds on the ground. She collects the red seeds with the intention to make a necklace. Survey the class to find out if students have had experience of this tree and its seeds. If so, have students share where they located the tree, and if they collected and made something with the seeds. Invite these students to describe what properties the seeds have: red, small, hard and fibrous.
Explain and show students that the red seeds (Ininti) come from the Erythrina vespertilio tree, called the Grey Corkwood, or Batswing Coral Tree, or ‘bean tree’ or ‘Ininti’. View the video, Cool Drink and Culture (2006) from Screen Australia that shows how Aboriginal people collected the Ininti seeds.
Use the map to show students where the Batswing Coral Tree grows in Australia. If the tree is prevalent in the local area, locate a mature tree that the students can visit. If possible/permissible, collect a selection of seeds
Provide a variety of seeds for students to explore, handle, sort, and use. Different seeds could be sourced from local garden centres or fruit and vegetable suppliers. A selection could include Australian flower seeds such are grevillea, wattle, acacia, etc., avocado seeds, pea/bean pods, herbs, apples, oranges, bananas, pumpkin and melon seeds, etc. Ininti Seeds and Gum Nuts, WALTJA is a website that sells Ininti seeds and gum nuts:
Investigating: from seed to plant
Have students categorise the seeds by size, and origin (flower, herb, bush, tree, fruit, and vegetables). Photograph/draw the seeds and retain seed specimens in labelled bags. Prepare a tray of a number of small pots filled with organic soil. Divide the remaining seeds between class members and allocate the small pots to students. Invite students to plant a selection of seeds in the pots and use a toothpick with the name of the seed on a label pushed into the soil. Students should monitor the growth of the plant over a period of time, making notes of the conditions (temperature, sun strength, soil dampness, etc.), how they care for the plant, and the growth pattern of the plant. Periodically, have students share their observations of how the plants are growing, or not growing.
Optional activity 1: What happens when a seed is heated? (Making popcorn)
Examine the seeds of the corn before heating them. Then explore how the seeds explode when heated. Explain how high heat turns the moisture inside the seed into steam, which expands, putting pressure on the hard shell which bursts open as the corn seed flips ‘inside out’.
Tip: If the school has an Amaranth plant, the grain can be popped just like popcorn. The same process works for sorghum as well—they’re just smaller seeds, so the resulting popped kernels aren’t quite so easy to eat.)
Optional activity 2: Seeds and beads
Provide students with a selection of hard seeds (already drilled with a hole for threading), and wooden or synthetic beads, and plastic/elastic thread to make their own jewellery designs.
Access the following website for ideas to make beaded jewellery from the Ininti seeds (or alternative seeds):
- Bead crafts and jewellery crafts for kids
- Making ininti seed bracelets
- Feeniks, The beauty of sustainability
- Annie Nelson- Ininti seed necklace
- How to make an ininti seed bracelet
Have students enter information/diagrams in their Science Journal (virtual or physical) about:
- traditional Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander uses for Ininti seeds, accompanied by designs for bead jewellery and the process of construction
- how to grow a plant from seed
- the science of popping seeds under heat (Popcorn)Science journal.
“A science journal is a record of a students’ observations, experiences and reflections. Each entry is dated and annotated by the student. Annotations may include written labels, drawings, diagrams, charts, small specimens, photographs, and graphs. Student engagement and learning is evident in the science journal.”
Sourced from: Primary Connections, Linking science with literacy