I used the Petco Premium Oasis Garden Terrarium
One of the things I added to my room this year that I am very proud of is our terrarium. This was NOT something I planned to do but a process of exploring and learning that led to “needing a terrarium”. You can read more about how that came to be here. It was so much fun to have this living center in our room and I cant wait to start again this year with the basics of dirt and let the learning unfold. Looking back I can’t believe how often the terrarium fit into our learning and how easy it was to come up with ways to include it. Here are a few examples of what made this center a hit in our room…
We were able to add insects that we collected during nature walks (spiders, ants, beetles, ladybugs, crickets and roly-polies)
A great place to put our chrysalis and watch the changes
Once we had snails, crickets and roly-polies the center was always moving and full of action. Certain kids in my class (especially those with a lot of energy) could sit and watch this for long periods of time and it had a calming effect.
The kids also liked to bring back plants. They learned in a real world setting about roots and how important they were to a plant. I took many weeks but eventually they had success “transplanting” into the terrarium
When it was time to grow seeds they had a wonderful place to experiment. The kids learned how hard it is for a seed to grow as many seeds were eaten by insects and many baby plants were chewed up before they could thrive. They all seemed to develop a respect for living things.
A real understanding of decomposing and the importance of insects, mold and bacteria
That homework, when needed, can be fun and engaging. When we first decided to add insects I sent home homework for the kids to dig up worms and send to school.
Some things wont decompose. Even if you leave them in there for 124 days.
Placing too much food into the terrarium attracts many fruit flies and gives Mr. Gomez a reason to buy a Venus Fly Trap. Something he has always wanted to buy.
That seeds growing is a miracle, something that deserves our respect and wonder.
What are some other ways you could use a living center in your class. I plan to add an aquarium and maybe even a Water Garden this year!