Monday, July 2, 2018

Outreach: "Springtime Science"

My Adult Services colleague, Ed, and I brought a little multi-sensory spring science lesson to students at the Wing Lake Developmental Center just before Summer Reading started. As I have mentioned before, Wing Lake is a year-round school that serves students, ages 3 - 26 years, in Oakland County with severe cognitive impairments (SCI) and severe multiple impairments (SXI). Often times cognitive disabilities are associated with a younger developmental age. Please read this fantastic post about mental age theory by S. Bryce Kozla i-have-mind-of-infant-mental-age-theory.html. Even though a person with cognitive disabilities may have difficulties with the complexities of language, comprehension, and other developmental skills, it is important to recognize and respect their physical age. Because there is a wide age span of the students here, we do our best to select activities, songs (which are always a hit here!!), and books that are age-respectful. These age-respectful picture books have simple, clear language and illustrations that will appeal to all ages. Books with photograph illustrations are especially great. April Pulley Sayre is one of my favorites!

Here is what we did:


1. Hello! (Talk about Picture Schedule)

2. Talk about our theme: Spring Science
"Today we are having fun with things that we experience in the spring. What are some things you notice outside in the spring? (flowers, birds, leaves growing on trees...)

3. Yoga pose: "Sunrise"

4. Song: "Spring Song" 
Tune: "London Bridge"
Leaves are growing on the trees,
on the trees,
on the trees.
Leaves are growing on the trees.
It is springtime.

Additional verses:
All the grass is turning green...
See the birds build their nest...
Smell the flowers as they grow...

5. Story: Bird Builds a Nest by Martin Jenkins (I love this new "A First Science Storybook" series!)
We incorporated some fun multi-sensory experiences to help students understand some basic science concepts introduced in the book. As we read the book, scanned and projected onto wall screen, Ed and I (along with the teachers and teaching aids) used stretch bands with each student, introducing the concept of "pushing and pulling," as the bird does when attempting to pull a worm out of the ground. We brought around different size twigs to demonstrate "heavy and light" like bird does when finding branches for her nest, and also dropping them (as the mother bird sometimes does) to demonstrate "gravity and force." We also brought feathers, grass, and a bird's "nest" for students to touch and feel.

6. Puppet rhyme: "Owl in the Tree" (using various bird puppets)
Tune: "Skip to My Lou"
Owl in the tree goes, "Hoo, hoo, hoo."
Owl in the tree goes, "Hoo, hoo, hoo."
Owl in the tree goes, "Hoo, hoo, hoo."
Early in the evening.

Other verses:
Babies in the nest go "tweet, tweet, tweet..." "...all day long"
Duck in the pond goes "quack, quack, quack..."  "...all day long"
Rooster in the yard goes "cock-a-doodle-do..."  "...early in the morning"
(source: unknown)

7. Story: Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre
Again, we took around some sensory engaging experiences to each student while reading this book: vines, sunflowers, and carrots to touch and smell. And don't forget to describe the beautiful illustrations for students who are blind or have low vision!

8. Song: "This Land" (with hand motions)
Tune: "This Land is Your Land"
This land is your land.
This land is my land.
Let's work together,
to make it better.
From tall green forests,
to clear blue waters,
this land depends on you and me!

9. Craft activity: "Coffee filter planet earth"
We used coffee filters, earthy-tone dot markers, water spray bottles, and plates to create our very own planet earth!