Surreal Science in Wonderland
Dec. 6, 2023
Welcome, Superheroes, to Wonderland! On December 15, Arizona PBS will unveil a new special: “Lookingglass Alice.” As I eagerly await this enchanting showcase, I’m thrilled to share a mesmerizing array of classroom activities inspired by the surreal world of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Join me on a journey down the rabbit hole as we delve into engaging educational pursuits that fuse curiosity, critical thinking, and scientific exploration.
Fantastical biology activities
The mystical gardens of Wonderland are filled with a kaleidoscope of plant life, each exhibiting unique traits and behaviors. From the towering, talking flowers to the whimsical flora, these fantastical elements offer a gateway to understanding plant physiology and how real-world plants adapt to challenging environments.
Lead students on a virtual tour of the U.S. Botanical Gardens, guiding them to unravel the secrets of plant evolution in extraordinary settings. Encourage discussions that draw parallels between the imaginative flora of Wonderland and the fascinating adaptations observed in diverse ecosystems, sparking curiosity and discovery during their exploration.
Ever wonder how the elusive Cheshire Cat pulls off its vanishing act, leaving behind just its mischievous grin? Have your students mirror the enigmatic disappearing act, courtesy of the Exploratorium’s captivating ‘Cheshire Cat’ activity. This whimsical experiment invites your students to unlock the secrets behind optical illusions, ignite conversations about sensory perception, and dive into the marvelous workings of the brain as it crafts our perceptions of reality. Get ready for an adventure that unravels how our minds shape the world around us!
Mystical lab activities
Turn your classroom into an enchanting laboratory where students brew their own magical potions, inspired by the whimsy of the Mad Hatter’s concoctions. From crafting vibrant acid-base indicator solutions to exploring reaction kinetics, students dive into the marvels of chemistry within a whimsical context. Check out Science Sparks for an easy and exciting potions activity.
Take a page from the Blue Caterpillar’s book and dive into mushroom microscopy. Explore the fascinating world of fungi by examining different types of mushrooms under microscopes. Have students discuss the intricate structures, spore formations, and their ecological significance. Then, try your hand at making mushroom spore prints using this hands-on activity from Science Learning Hub. This activity not only adds a creative dimension to the study but also prompts discussions about the unique characteristics of different mushroom species, fostering a deeper understanding of biodiversity and the delicate balance within ecosystems.
As we bring our Wonderland-inspired learning extravaganza to a close, remember the magic of Wonderland never truly ends, and there are countless more adventures waiting to be uncovered. Every adventure requires a first step. What will be yours? Let us know on social media at @ArizonaEducator on X (formerly Twitter) or Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook.
About the author
Ashley Burkart, Biology faculty at Estrella Mountain Community College, holds a Masters in Biomedical Science from Midwestern University, where STEM research became her first passion. When she isn’t teaching tomorrow’s leaders, she is either hanging out with her dogs, Raven and Bailey, or hiking the beautiful mountains of Arizona.