Lesson plans: Nature Detective and Jump Ropin’ Like a Toad

The lesson plan Nature Detective originally focused on having preschoolers identify nature specimens by using all of their senses except their sight.  Integrating technology by adding a digital microscope, digital camera, and iPhoto software introduced new challenges.  After getting a closer look at the nature specimens, children will help the teacher make a photo storybook showing each specimen “up-close” through a microscope lens, and “normal” through a regular camera lens.

Lesson Plan

Title: Nature Detective

Age group: 3- 4 year olds

Curriculum Area: Language

Goals & Objectives:

Ÿ         Preschooler will identify objects from nature they are touching without looking at the objects.

Ÿ         Preschooler will retrieve matching objects from nature from a bag without seeing the objects.

Ÿ         Preschooler will answer questions about the items in terms of sense of touch , smell, or sight.(ie. texture, temperature, shape, etc.)


-small cloth bag or pillowcase

-pair of twigs

-pair of leaves

-pair of dandelions

-pair of rocks/stones

-pair of pinecones

-pair of flowers


1.  The teacher will retrieve items from nature that are appropriately identifiable for 3 year olds such as stones, leaves, twigs, flowers/weeds, etc.

2.  Each child will have a turn to be the “nature detective”.  The teacher will ask him/her:  “What are you touching?”/ “Can you find its match?”/  “How would you describe the item to your classmates such as its texture, temperature, shape, etc.”

3.  The teacher will ask questions about the specific items: -twigs: “How does it feel?”

-leaves: “How does it feel?”

-pom-pom: “What does it look


-pinecones: “How does it


-flowers: “How does it feel/


-feathers:  “How does it feel?”


1.  Child will correctly  identify the items through sense of touch without looking at it.

2.  Child will successfully retrieve matching items without looking in the bag.

3.  Child will answer questions about the items in terms of touch, smell, or sight.

*  Coletta, A.J. & Coletta, K.  (1986).  Year’ Round Activities for Three-Year-Old

Children. West Nyack, NY:  The Center for Applied Research in Education, p. 54.

Technology integration:

The technologies used in this lesson are digital microscope, digital camera, computer and iPhoto software.

Objectives of the technologies:

  • Digital microscope-The digital microscope will be used to look at the various nature specimens, such as twigs, leaves, flowers, pinecones, etc. and photo them in “microscopic view.”
  • Digital camera- The digital camera will be used to photo the nature specimens
  • Computer- The computer will be used to view the nature specimens from the teacher’s digital microscope and for using iPhoto software.
  • iPhoto- The iPhoto software will be used to edit digital photos of the specimens as well as images taken by the digital microscope and organize them into a photo storybook

Software and hardware requirements:

  • Digital microscope
  • Digital camera
  • Computer with USB port
  • iPhoto software

Skills required:

  • Teacher- S/he will need to be able to help children use the digital camera and iPhoto software.  S/he needs to know how to use the digital microscope in conjunction with a computer and how to use iPhoto to edit and organize photos taken with both the digital microscope and digital camera into a photo storybook.
  • Children- Children should be able to photograph the nature specimens with teacher assistance using a digital camera.  They will also need to help the teacher separate nature specimen photos into two categories: those taken by the digital microscope (microscopic view) and those taken by the digital camera (regular view).  They need to help the teacher match each specimen photo taken in “regular view” to its “microscopic view” mate.  They also need to help the teacher edit with iPhoto by choosing which “good” photos will be used in a photo storybook that showcases their nature finds.

Reflection on the technology:

The digital microscope will allow children to look at nature specimens up-close via a computer screen instead of fussing with their own microscope.  Because it also takes pictures, this microscope will allow children to compare photos of nature specimens taken with a regular lens to more detailed, “up-close” photos taken through a microscope lens.  As the digital microscope can also load its pictures right into a computer, viewing and choosing photos for the science-themed photo storybook will be made easier for children.  The digital camera and iPhoto software also make this process more appealing.   A digital camera allows the children to see their pictures immediately.  iPhoto allows them to help edit and organize both digital camera and digital microscope photos.  When used together, these technologies simplify the process for children of both consolidating and managing photos so that they can be used in creative and instructional ways.


Apple Education. (n.d.). iPhoto in the Classroom: Bring learning to life with digitalphotos. Retrieved June 25, 2009, fromhttp://www.apple.com/nz/education/solutions/iPhoto/

Carolina: World-Class Support for Science & Math.(n.d.). Digital Microscopes: Students Won’t Study Their Own Eyelashes Anymore. Retrieved June 25, 2009, from http://www.carolina.com/category/teacher+resources/classroom+activities/digital microscopes+students+won’t+study+their+own+eyelashes+anymore.do

**The lesson Jump Ropin’ Like a Toad began as a music & movement activity in which children jump-roped to a jingle.  Adding  technologies to the lesson, such as a pedometer, camcorder, and microphone/headset gave the children new responsibilities- making their own fitness video!

Creatures that Hop

Movement Lesson Plan

Age group:  3-5+

Jump Ropin’ Like a Toad


  • Children will learn a chant/poem as part of a “movement” activity.
    • Children will use the chant/poem as part of a jump rope exercise.
    • Children will learn how to jump rope to the rhythm of the chant.


  • Jump rope (10-12 feet)
  • Words of poem/chant to original jump rope song “Strawberry Shortcake, Cherry on Top”.


  1. The teacher will tell the children that they are going to learn a “jingle”, a catchy tune to which they can jump rope.
  2. The teacher will help the children learn the words to the jingle, “Lily Pad

with a Frog on Top”.  Tell the children that it is similar to the jingle, “Strawberry

Shortcake, Cherry on Top”, a popular jingle with which some children may be familiar.

3.  After children learn and practice the song , they can begin the activity.

5.  Adults should turn the jump rope, one at each end.

6.  Participants take turns jumping rope and chanting until it is a new participant’s turn to

jump and chant!


  • Children will learn the chant before starting with the actual jumping rope.
  • Children will chant as the first person takes his/her turn.
  • Children will repeat the chant while jumping rope. 

*  Goren, A., Kutzer, A., & Rhodes, M. (Eds.)  (1997). Instant lessons for little learners.

Greensboro, NC:  The Education Center, Inc.p. 52.

Jump Ropin’ Like a Toad Continued…

Jump Rope Jingle to the Jingle

tune:“Strawberry Shortcake, Cherry on Top”

First verse:

“Li-ly pad with a frog on top

How many times, can you hop?

One, two, three, four…” (keep counting until it is the next person’s turn).

Second verse:

Spotted toad on a tree-stump

How many times, can you jump?”

One, two, three, four…”(keep counting until it is the next person’s turn).

Third verse:

“One, two, kan-ga-roo,

She can jump….can you?

One, two, three, four..”(keep counting until it is the next person’s turn).

Fourth verse:

“Three, four, fivesixseven,

Grasshop-per and cricket enter,

One, two, three, four…”(keep counting until it is the next person’s turn).

Technology Integration:

The technologies used in this lesson are a pedometer, a camcorder, computer and a microphone/headset.

Objectives of the technologies:

  • Pedometer -The pedometer will be used to record how many steps were taken through the course of this music & movement activity.  The children will use this information in their own fitness video.
  • Camcorder – Children will take turns video-taping the different segments of this music & movement activity for a fitness video.
  • Computer-The computer and appropriate software will be used to edit the video.
  • Microphone/headset- Children will take turns narrating and singing the

accompanying jingle with a microphone/headset.

Software and Hardware requirements:

  • Pedometers
  • Camcorder
  • Computer with software needed to communicate with the camcorder and to transfer and edit the video/audio clips
  • Microphone/headset (wireless)

Skills required:

  • Teacher-S/he will have to know how to use a pedometer, camcorder, microphone, and computer(editing software) in order to guide children in using all four of these technologies.
  • Children- Children should be able to follow brief instructions on how to turn-on/off all three technologies.  With teacher assistance, they should be comfortable with reading the pedometers, guiding the camcorder, editing on the computer, and speaking with a microphone/headset.

Reflection on the technology:

Through this process and these technologies, children will learn the steps to video-making.  The pedometers will allow them to count the number of steps (jumps) they take during a jump-roping exercise.  This technology might leave them wondering “how does it count my steps?”  Operating a camcorder will give them a better understanding of video-making.  They will learn that the camcorder makes both the “watching part” and “sound part” of their video.  During the editing process, they will see how the camcorder “feeds into” the computer and that, once in the computer, audio and video portions can be cut out.  They will also learn that a camcorder takes moving pictures similarly to how a camera takes still pictures.  Finally, they will learn that a microphone makes it easier to hear their words.  Children may become more interested in both fitness and technology when fitness/technology are creatively combined.


eHOW: How To Do Just About Everything.(n.d.). How to Connect Camcorders to yourComputer. Retrieved June 25, 2009, from http://www.ehow.com/video_2280142_connect-camcorders-computer.html


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s