A Gift Only a Science Teacher Would Love

One of two pretty packages I received.

Yesterday at dismissal time I got stopped by two lovely third graders, and one of them, Mimi, excitedly reached into her big backpack and pulled out a present!
Actually there were two. One wrapped in a folded paper towel and the other rolled in about five feet of toilet paper. Each had been fastened closed with a perky bow barrette borrowed from lost and found. (That’s initiative, I thought appreciatively.)
In the school hallway we carefully unwrapped each package. To reveal…
… one small black seed and one shriveled pale berry on a stem, with a seed visible inside.
We were all excited because this “find” was the culmination of several weeks of inquiry. Mimi had first left me something on my desk. Her hot pink sticky note said that she and Nina found this chrysalis on the Pre-K playground, and did I know what it was from? Only someone had placed a bin down on it and what I found was broken pale cream-colored slivers. Of something.
So Mimi kept looking, and reported seeing lots of pieces on the ground. She promised to let me know if she found a whole one, whatever it was. Along the way, Mimi decided that maybe these were seed pods she was searching for, instead of chrysali.
So you can imagine, I hope, how happy I was to get these packages to close the circle on the seeds falling from the Pre-K playground tree.
Young children are supposed to be collectors. As a science teacher to young children, I encourage that. One long shelf and some bulletin board space are full of “gifts” students have brought to lend or give to our science lab. Bird’s nests, bones (both Thanksgiving turkey drumstick, and deer skull), the piece of glass they think might be a diamond, and many, many dead bugs. (I once opened a gift baggie to find a small piece of octopus tentacle! That one was a trick of sorts, brought by a mischievous kiddo who kept it from a restaurant dinner.)
What do I love about Mimi’s gift? She noticed things, she stayed curious, she adjusted her guesses. Mimi used initiative and perseverance. She brought different friends into the quest with her. And her presentation is beyond compare!

11 thoughts on “A Gift Only a Science Teacher Would Love

  1. I love that your science lab is filled with kids’ discoveries, and that Mimi knew you’d be thrilled with her well-decorated offerings. What a way to help kids develop their sense of curiosity and wonder about the world!


  2. This is precious! Thank you for the reminder that young children are supposed to be collectors. It really sheds light to all of my son’s finds- rocks galore and the occasional Japanese beetle.


  3. How wonderful… your slice shows such genuine delight for the children and their curiosity. How fortunate they are to have you as their teacher!


  4. I love that your way of teaching is so grounded in the belief that: “Young children are supposed to be collectors.” I ended this piece wanting to take a walk and NOTICE!! I can’t wait to see what I find!! Thanks for sharing the small moment of this gift which, in turn, shows your gift as a teacher to all.


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