Friday, May 1, 2009

Today in Science

The "farm" as of this morning:

Various beans, some vining up knitting needles (I got out a set of Susan Bates needles to knit a gauge swatch the other night, and the tip of one was bent at about a 45 degree angle, so I figured it was best used as a plant stake). AnnaBeth measures them every day and records her observations.

Lemon seeds that still haven't done anything observable.

Flower sprouts that started this whole thing.

Also, leftover poinsettias. A couple of evergreen seedlings from the conservation department, casually stuck in an old plastic container until we get around to planting them. An aloe plant that doesn't have anywhere else to go. AnnaBeth's plant observation notebook and a maple samara that we're thinking about planting are also on the table.

Today we decided to add an avocado to our seed-growing extravaganza:

This page has nice pictures on how to plant one in a glass, but I was disappointed that it said nothing, absolutely nothing, about the need to pinch back the seedling.

"Why do you need to pinch back the seedling?"

"I'm so glad you asked that. It has to do with apical dominance, and I've been waiting for the moment to explain apical dominance to you."

I grab a nearby ink pen to use as a makeshift prop, using the tip of the pen as the growing tip. I carefully avoid words such as "meristem" or "auxin", using instead phrases like "tip" and "growy-stuff hormones".

AnnaBeth's eyes start to glaze over.

I switch to recalling how we always pinched back the coleus (back when we could grow coleus, which was back in Ohio -- the deer here are mighty fond of coleus, it seems). Remember that? How it made the plant more bushy? And if we didn't do it the plant would grow straight up without dividing ... ?

AnnaBeth's eyes still seem slightly glazed.

Finally, during a pause she comments, "Okay, Mom, you've had your moment. You got to talk about apical dominance. Now could you get me the SoilMoist?"

You know, I was reading the other day that Charlotte Mason advocated using the correct terms for all of this stuff (cotyledon, plumule, radical, sepal, and surely she meant to include phrases like apical dominance, don't you think?). I thought I was getting the hang of using the correct nomenclature without spouting out too much of a barrage. But maybe not.

At least I didn't try to hand out worksheets on it.

But, OH! BRAINSTORM! A vocabulary list in her notebook! That way it could count as language arts, too, and be fashionably cross-curricular.


Ami said...

"Okay, Mom, you've had your moment. You got to talk about apical dominance. Now could you get me the SoilMoist?"


Sorry. Sounds like one of my kids.
Every time one of them comes up with something like that, I say to myself, "I knew homeschooling would turn 'em into smartasses."

Gail said...

Yeah, sadly that, "you've had your moment" was a direct quote. Just like my nerdy, "I'm so glad you asked that," etc. It's like we're living in a bad sitcom.