An incredible mentor professor/teacher introduced me to this activity. She did it with her class at the beginning of the year. When I taught third grade, I began the year the same way. I've added parts and tweaked it over the years, but it continues to be a winner!
Ask child to look closely at a sunflower, drawing a picture of everything they can see. (It's best to have a sunflower with seeds rather than just the ornamental kind shown in the photo.) Ask them to do some "5 Sense Science" and brainstorm a list of words that describe the flower...seeing, hearing, tasting (seeds), touching, smelling.
Using the same flower, provide a magnifying glass and have the child draw the flower as seen using the tool. Again, use descriptive words to tell about what is seen under some magnification.
Again, with the same flower, separate small pieces (petals, leaves, seeds, etc.) and look at them under a microscope. We use an inexpensive one with results adequate for this exercise. Draw new pictures and, if desired, create a new list of descriptive words.
Day Four (optional)
Write a descriptive paragraph or poem about a sunflower. Try to describe it so that a person who has never seen one could picture it...see/hear/taste/touch/feel.
And, since we're just finished Sign of the Beaver, this applies...
In the movie, The Sign of the Beaver, a colonial boy, looking for a snare, says that he can't see anything. The Native American grandfather replies, "All of creation is here. Look close. Like you're reading words."
Look closely at a sunflower. You'll find a lot to admire.
Link up to something you did on your first day of school!