Thursday, January 26

Dirt Babies

I first heard about "dirt babies" from Dr. Robbie McCarty at S.W.O.S.U. and when I decided last week to teach about the environment and the ecosystem, this seemed like a WONDERFUL idea to get the children engaged and interactive with science. If you do not know what a dirt baby is, stick with me and I will let you know...there will also be PLENTY of tutorial pictures to accompany this post. Let me start off by giving you a glimpse of our finished project....just to wet your appetite.
Dirt babies are basically "homemade" chia pets. The children get a kick out of observing the growth of the "hair" on their dirt baby; they also LOVE to give their dirt babies hair cuts!!! Since we were talking about living things, non-living things, individuals, populations, and communities; myself and the other 4th grade teacher thought this would be a neat way to bring all of the information together. In my classroom, as we were making our dirt babies, I was assessing if the students knew if each item added was a living or non-living thing. The children seem to have picked up on this lesson pretty well. Now...without further ado, I will start discussing how to actually create a dirt baby of your own!
You will need:
--Knee High Stockings (do not get the ones with the reinforced toe)
--Grass Seed
--Potting Soil
--A Cup
--Water
IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE!!! For step by step instructions...continue reading.
First thing that you will need is some grass seed. This can be any type of grass seed. We got ours from our local conservation district (Thanks for the donation!!!) You will want to put about 1 tablespoon of the grass seed into the toe of the knee high stocking. 
Then, you will want to put in about 1 cup of potting soil.
After you pour in your dirt, your knee high stocking will start SAGGING!!!

Be VERY careful not to make a big mess with the potting soil! I accidentally spilled some while filling a dirt baby. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS NEXT SENTENCE!!!!! If you do make a mess, go to your janitor and ask if you can get something to clean up the mess yourself!!! If you haven't figured out yet, your janitor makes the WORLD GO ROUND! Do not ruffle the feather's of your janitor or he/she can make your life no so good. When I made my mess, I told my janitor that I would clean it up, but he offered to go ahead and get it....He did mention that potting soil is not nearly as bad as glitter.
After pushing all of the dirt into a ball, you will want to tie a knot into the stocking so you can form your dirt baby's head. After you have tied your knot, you will want to cut off some of the excess knee high fabric. Be sure to leave enough length on the stocking so that it can reach the water in the cup. Your knee high fabric will actually wick the water to the plant, so if you make sure there is enough water in your cup, you won't have to worry about watering your dirt baby on a regulary basis! We used construction paper to make outfits for our dirt babies and we hot glued googly eyes to them as well. I will give you another shot of our finished product. Both of us 4th grade teachers put our dirt babies on the same table outside of our classroom. My class's dirt babies have bigger heads (on the right)...but it is a good representation to let you know that there is absolutely no single way to milk a cow.
I hope that you have learned something today and might even try this in your own classroom! Thanks for sticking with me today! I hope to see you all back here soon. If you like what you see...FOLLOW ME!!!

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3 comments:

  1. Jared,
    You amaze me. Don't give up on this Blog. Keep posting thoughts and ideas. I have shared the link with all of the Spring 2012 STs and all DOE faculty. It will take off. This is some cool stuff.

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  2. Thanks! My kindergarten brought one home, no eyes, just design stickers and said it was a dirt baby. I asked to him what a dirt baby is and he said, "I don't know." I appreciate the explanation.

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  3. my son brought one of these home, and well i've never heard of "dirt babys" so therefore i didn't know how to take care of it, i did stick it outside for sunlight..bad move. they are not fond of sunlight :S. im now nursing a very wilted and almost dead dirt baby.. any tips to bring this thing back?

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