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Botany Cabinet

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Material

Cabinet with three drawers containing wooden frames and insets of leaf forms.
The insets are fitted with a knob.
The insets and floors of drawers are painted green. 
The frames are varnished.  

Stylus (a wooden stick) 

Three sets of cards for each figure: shape filled in, thick outline, thin outline. 

Presentation

  1. Invite the child to the lesson. 
  2. Ask the child to carry the first drawer to a rug. 
  3. With a subdominant pincer grip, lift a leaf inset out of the frame. 
  4. With your dominant hand, use the stylus to trace the inset.  
  5. Place the inset down on the blank space adjacent to the frame.  
  6. With the stylus, very lightly trace the inside edges of the frame. 
  7. With your dominant hand place the inset back into the frame. 
  8. Repeat this process for all three leaf shapes. 
  9. Ask the child to perform the exercise.  
  10. Now, remove the three insets from their frames, one by one.
  11. Randomize the shapes and let the child place them back in their frames. 

Exercises

Exercise 1: child works independently. 
Exercise 2: Exploration of the Drawers.
Child may work with 2 – 3 drawers on a rug.   
Exercise 3: Card to Inset.
Lay out several solid cards on a rug. Ask child to get the matching leaf insets. 
Exercise 4: Inset to Card.
Bring 3 insets to a rug for the child to trace. Ask the child to find the cards. 
Exercise 5: Thick and thin line cards.
Repeat exercises 3 and 4 but with the other two types of cards: first thick and then thin. 

Language

Names of leaf shapes: language comes after the initial work when the child is secure with their shapes.

Control of Error

Built into the material, the leaf shape fits or it doesn’t.

Direct Purpose

Visual discrimination of shapes.

Indirect Purpose

Preparation for botany and the living world of plants.
Preparation for writing.

Age

4

Notes

Make sure the first presentation has 3 contrasting leaf shapes, the first drawer does, but if you let the child choose on the first time instead, make sure he chooses 3 contrasting ones. Do this for the other exercises as well. 

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