Physical science. Point out to her that living things need food, air and water to exist. Let her plant a few dried beans in two saucers with cotton wool. See that the one lot is watered regularly. She should do it but you will have to remind and supervise her. Leave the other saucer dry. After a few days she will see for herself that water is necessary for plants to grow. You can carry this experiment as far as you like.

Keep the one saucer in the fridge after it has started to grow. When there is no action after a few days she will have discovered that plants need warmth to grow. Transplant some of the beans into soil and keep some in the saucer. The ones in the soil should grow bigger and better because of the food in the soil, while the one in the saucer will wither once the food stored in the bean has been used up. If the beans in the soil die and the others thrive she will have learnt something about the vagaries of life!

If you want to show how plants take up water through their stems, you can colour a glass of water with food colouring or ink and stand a white flower in it. The flower should eventually turn the colour of the water.

To show that people also have a system that flows through their body, you can let her see her pulse beating. Stick a drawing pin into the base of a matchstick and rest the matchstick on her wrist. The head of the matchstick will vibrate with her pulse beats. You can show the existence and movement of air by getting her to hold a piece of paper in front of a hair drier. The force of the air will bend the paper and she will not be able to keep it flat. Better still, make a whirlwind. You need a sheet of paper about 18 cm by 18 cm, a dowel or stick about 30 cm long and a pin with a big head. Mark out the paper and cut it along the dotted line. Fold as shown and catch all the points together with the pin. Push it into the top of the stick. Let her hold the whirlwind in a draught-free place to show her that it does not spin, then take her into the wind or near the hair drier (not too near) and let her see how the air makes it move even though she cannot see the air.

To promote small muscle coordination you can make a threading card out of stiff cardboard with holes punched in a pattern. Thread a thick blunt-ended needle with wool and show her how to sew through the holes. If she is obviously left handed do not try to change her. But if she seems to need to change hands halfway, she may have mixed dominance (202) and she will have to be watched.


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