Series: First Five Early Childhood Education

Reasoning About Garden Observations
Lesson Objective: Build observation and reasoning skills
Pre-K / Science / Investigation

Thought starters

  1. What kinds of predictions do students make about the apple?
  2. How do they test their predictions?
  3. How does Mr. Sliveira use open-ended questions?
  4. What can you learn from Mr. Sliveira about letting students take the lead?
Great video. I love the integration of literacy and representation. Love the quality of interactions between Mr. S and the children.
Recommended (0)
Now I truly understand why I adore teaching children! Thanks Brian.
Recommended (0)
Gardening and cooking are so often excellent ways of focussing on extending vocabulary besides being an excellent way to keep pupils interested and seeing the direct relevance to everyday living.
Recommended (0)
I think it is really engaging for students to get hands on training and actual feedback when learning to reason by observations and prior knowledge. I'm amazed that PreK students are so easily involved in garden work with veggies, plants and fruits. I believe we can implement this actual learning activity at all schools and be pleasantly surprised by the abilities of the children.
Recommended (0)
LOVE this! Thank you Brian! :)
Recommended (0)


  • Reasoning About Garden Observations
    Program Transcript

    Silveira & Students: (singing) …gonna make this garden grow. All it takes is a rake

    Reasoning About Garden Observations
    Program Transcript

    Silveira & Students: (singing) …gonna make this garden grow. All it takes is a rake and a hoe…

    Silveira (Interview): My name is Brian Silveira. I'm at Pacific Primary school, and I teach in the Pre-K class. That's the oldest class right before kindergarten.

    Silveira & Students: (singing) …'til the rains come tumbling down.

    Silveira: All right.

    Silveira (Interview): The garden has evolved over many years, and it has become such a focus for learning, especially for the children to have some agency and some ownership. They know which kinds of bugs are really good for the garden, the ones that decompose the compost in the composter.

    Student: I found a little worm here! Guys, here come some worms! Ew! Disgusting!

    Silveira (Interview): Today's lesson was an open-ended lesson, and the children were exploring their environment in the, um, in the garden.

    Silveira: Polar bears, come on over around this table and I'll show you some of the things we have this morning to do. So some of you made signs for the plants.

    Student: I did.

    Silveira: You did?

    Student: I did!

    Silveira: Okay. Well, with your signs, since you're in the garden I thought you could, if you wanted to draw the plant that you, that's on your sign you may. This one says, it starts with mmmm.

    Student: Meh---

    Silveira: Mint. And what does that one say?

    Student: Strawberry…

    Silveira: Strawberries.

    Silveira (Interview): They were observing the, the plants that were growing, the, the fruits and the vegetables. The intention that I had was for the children to really look closely at the things that they were doing, and so the teaching came just with noticing things a little bit closer.

    Silveira: What do you notice when you move it a little bit?

    Student: It shakes.

    Silveira: It shakes.

    Silveira (Interview): When Lulu was drawing her tomato, she had stopped looking at it, so we went closer to look at it and she really noticed all the little star points, and you could see in her drawing how she changed her perception of that.

    Silveira: Which apples are you looking at?

    Student: One is on the bottom of the…

    Silveira: This one? Do you want to stand up and look at the top of it to see what it looks like? Huh! It fell off! Oh no! Now you can really look it. You can hold it…Let's cut the apple in half and see what it looks like inside. What do you think of that? What do you think it's going to look like inside?

    Students: Seeds!

    Silveira: Think you're gonna find some seeds in there? What else?

    Student: White!

    Silveira: White? What do you think?

    Student: Skin.

    Student: Seeds!

    Silveira: Seeds? How is going to taste?

    Student: Apple seeds!

    Silveira: Look inside. What shape do you see?

    Students: X!

    Silveira (Interview): I use open-ended questions to get children to focus their attention and to be able to articulate what they're noticing.

    Silveira: And look at the seeds. Does this look like the apple seeds that you get in your apples?

    Students: No!

    Silveira: Why? What's different?

    Student: Because it's green!

    Student: It looks like a tooth!

    Silveira: It looks like a tooth, doesn't it? How do you think it's gonna taste?

    Student: Good.

    Silveira: But good means what? Sour, or...

    Student: Sour!

    Silveira: Oh! That is really sour! I'll tell you something. If we leave this on the tree longer, what do you think is going to happen to it?

    Student: Bigger.

    Silveira: What? It'll get bigger. What…

    Student: It'll get bigger, bigger, it'll fill up the whole school.

    Silveira: So it'll be really big. Do you think it will change in any other way?

    Student: It might become red.

    Silveira: It might become red. Do you think it'll still be like a lemon?

    Student: No.

    Silveira: No?

    Silveira (Interview): Open-ended questions leave a lot of space for children to talk about what they know about.

    Silveira: Is there a bug in there? Let's see. When you get raspberries at the store, do they have bugs?

    Student: No.

    Silveira: Why not?

    Student: Cause they, uh, I don't know.

    Silveira: Yeah, I wonder why..

    Student: Maybe because they take them out.

    Silveira: Maybe because they…

    Student: They find bugs.

    Silveira: They find bugs and then they take them out?…And, tell me how it tastes.

    Student: Awesome. Delightful!

    Silveira (Interview): I want children to be discovering all the time and I just sort of want to be a catalyst for them.


Brian Silveira


Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement