Mealworms and Goldfish and Snails, Oh My!

Animals Two By Two Unit – Kindergarten Young Steam Inventors

Our Young Steam Inventors in kindergarten have been observing two aquatic animals – goldfish and guppies. We’ve read fiction and nonfiction books about fish and used the information to identify the different body parts of the goldfish and guppies and what they need to live. Then, the kindergarten students compared and graphing this information into their STEAM Journals and also documenting their observations. They learned through this process that all animals deserve respect and care.


Our science investigation will lead us into land and water snails in the next few class sessions. We will explore the identifiable structure and behaviors of snails, snail behavior, and needs. We will examine their shells and ask the question, “What will get a snail to move?” The integration of snails and engineering already started last week.  Students were interested in designing a “Snail City” and a Floating City for the water snails. One of the kindergarten  students made the following comment while building snail city:

“Ms. Alicia I’m testing out the roof of my snail bridge. I’m using the fake snail to test to see if I built it strong enough to put a real snail on top. I don’t want the snail to get hurt. The baby snail doesn’t weigh as much as the bigger snails.  I’m also measuring the door with the fake snail so that I know that it is wide enough for the alive snail to get through it. I tested it out once and the fake snail fell so I had to build it aging and make it stronger. Please don’t let anyone break up my bridge.” ~ Delvin, age 5

Kindergarten students are scientists and engineers. They’re making signs for the Floating City for the water snails. I’ve been interviewing the students about their structures on index cars and having them sign their names. They’ve said to me (as I’m writing),

“Ms. Alicia, are you getting everything from my head onto the card just right?”

This is why I love teaching! Right now, we have a floating school, stop signs, bridges, boats, children’s museum and much more! See the photos in this post. The first grade students are choosing to work on the project with kindergarten students.

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Organisms Unit – Grade 1 Young Steam Inventors

During the last few class sessions, Grade 1 students have been learning about organisms. They learned by exploring the lifecycle of the mealworm that all living organisms need food, air and water to live. While discussing how mealworms begin their life cycle, one first grader said, “They’re just like us. They are tiny eggs and then they turned into a larva, then a pupa and then a baby beetle. We do the same thing except we turn into grown ups”.  Another student remarked, “They go on a life journey, too”.We’ve explored the five senses (sight, speaking, touching, tasting, and hearing) through observations and hands-on experiences. We read fiction and non-fiction books about organisms, went on scavenger hunts outside to find living and non living things, graphed our data and recorded our findings in our STEAM Journals.

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“We are recording the mealworm lifecycle. My mealworm turned into a pupa last night while I was sleeping in my bed”.

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“We have been observing and writing about this hard word called ‘metamorphosis’. It just means how the mealworms are changing on different days. But how come they wait until we go home to change? That’s my big question!” ~ Mae, Grade 1 student

Our week concluded with a trip to the New England Aquarium, where students got the chance to investigate and go deeper into our learning about living and non living organisms. Please check out the following slideshow!

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Next week, we will observe and describe seeds. Then, we will plant our seeds and observe how our seeds have changed over time. Grade 1 students have already begun making observations on what happens to an apple, an orange, and a white pumpkin contained in glass jars with no air or water.

In the words of one first grader,

“I want to be a scientist and an engineer when I grow up. I can help Mother Nature with her job because it’s a pretty big job to take care of us and all of the nonliving things in the world”.

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