Mindful Observation

Learn how Momentous School teacher used mindful observation with her fifth grade scientists.

By Anne Mechler, Fifth Grade Teacher | Feb 23, 2015
Mindful Observation

Today’s post comes from Momentous School fifth grade teacher Anne Mechler. She will share with us a mindful observation activity that she did with her fifth grade scientists.
 
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I have found that it’s pretty easy to find ways to incorporate mindfulness into our regular classroom activities, and one that lends itself particularly well is science. In science, we do a lot of observation. When better to be mindful than when we need to pay careful attention to detail?
 
My class did an activity about mindful observation. I taught them that scientists use observation all the time and it’s very important. We had a great discussion on science labs and places where observations take place on a daily basis. They created quite a list! The ocean, the forest, a dentist’s office, the zoo, a chemistry lab, etc.
 
With that in mind, we dove into the lesson! I told them that we’d be examining the diet of an owl, and we’d be looking for evidence to discover what an owl might eat for dinner. I assured them that I would not put them in danger and that they wouldn’t get hurt. So how were we going to do this? By looking at owl pellets! (You should have heard the fifth graders squeal when they heard!)
 
The pellets that we observed had been disinfected and wrapped in foil for the purposes of scientific observation. Each student got a pellet that they were to observe mindfully. What they didn’t know was that I was going to collect them and place them all in a big bowl and the students would have to identify their own.
 
I gave the students the following instructions:
-          Take your object and hold it in your palm.
-          Get to know your object the best you can.
-          What does it look like? What colors do you see? Do you see any imperfections?
-          What makes your object distinguishable?
-          Take your time, and focus the best you can on your object.
-          If your mind wanders away from your object, that’s ok, just bring your attention back to your object.
-          Continue to examine your object and get to know everything about it

Scientists

After about ten minutes of mindful observation, the students reluctantly placed their pellets back in the bowl. They were horrified when I mixed them up. (I guess they had become attached!) It was time to see if they had really made mindful observations.
 
It turns out it was easier than they thought! Some knew right away, and others were very hesitant, but in the end, everyone found their pellet and there were no disagreements!

Pickingpellets

Here are a few of their journal entries from the experience. Overall, we loved the opportunity to incorporate mindfulness into a very important classroom activity!

Journal Entries

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