LEAF OF ABSENCE (Episode 114a)

T-Bone asks Clifford to keep an eye on a pile of leaves that he has collected, but Clifford can't resist jumping into them, scattering them to the winds. Taking his responsibility seriously, Clifford spends the afternoon re-collecting the pile, and T-Bone is truly grateful when he returns to find that his leaves are okay. Clifford learns the importance of keeping a promise.

Clifford's Big Idea: Be Responsible Clifford's Big Idea: Be Responsible

Objective:
In these activities, children learn ways to be responsible to the environment, thus developing:

  • science and discovery skills
  • life skills and social literacy

Budding BotanistsBudding Botanists

Take the child on a walk outside and work together to name the flowers and trees blooming in your neighborhood or a local park. Use a guide to look up the names of plants that you can't identify; the local library should have one. (And while you're there, get the child a library card if he or she doesn't have one.)

The child may enjoy keeping a sketch book with hand-drawn illustrations of the plants that you see and learn about together.

Community Corner: Environment: Here We Grow AgainCommunity Corner: Environment: Here We Grow Again

With a Group:
T-Bone raked up leaves that had fallen to the ground. Introduce the children to the process of decomposition and the concept of biodegradability. Show them that some materials, such as leaves, fruits, and vegetables, decompose and return to the earth: they are biodegradable. Others, such as plastic and Styrofoam, are not.

With the group, conduct an experiment to see what types of material are biodegradable and how decomposition occurs. Find a warm, moist spot of ground. With a shovel, dig four holes, each about six inches deep. Put one of the following four items in to each hole: an apple core, a lettuce leaf, a Styrofoam cup, and a plastic bag. Fill the holes with dirt, and mark each hole so that you can find it later.

Ask the children to predict what will happen to each of the buried objects. Write their predictions on a chart. After four to six weeks, unearth the objects and see what has happened. Compare the results with the predictions.


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