Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog


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Where does the water go?

A while ago, one of the students posed a curious question about what happens to the water after it rains.  We discussed many possibilities, but eventually came to the conclusion that somehow it ended up in the clouds.  One of the most creative methods for this molecular travel was via invisible pipes in the trees that carry the water from the ground to the sky.

This week, we read more information about where water goes and how it travels.  The water cycle made sense, but it was still a bit confusing.  Hmmm…maybe a little music can help?

Enter Tom Chapin’s The Wheel of the Water:

Following the song, we made up our own motions to help us remember the journey of water as it recycle’s across our planet.  This song has now become an oft requested favorite.

Yesterday, I asked the children to write about their favorite part of the water cycle.

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Luckily, the weather has been cooperative, providing lots of direct observation opportunities.  Who knew playing in the rain could garner so much learning?

 

 


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Environmental Stewardship

While reading about and discussing animal migration, we discovered that some species are forced to migrate due to changing environmental factors. Walruses must move their families as temperatures rise around the globe causing their needed ice flows to melt.  The children were deeply concerned about this.  One child explained that this occurs due to global warming.  He shared that people all over the world are using gas and making smoke that goes up into the air and makes the temperatures go up.  Another child mentioned that sometimes there is trash in the water, as well.

This conversation inspired the children to invent some very creative machines to help clean-up the Earth.

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Little Ornithologists

It is certainly Spring.  We’ve been keeping an eye on our feathered visitors for a few weeks now.  The mother Canadian goose made her annual nest on the island situated within our pond.  This Monday, we discovered that she had left her nest.  We had to search around for a bit, but we finally found her!


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Deconstruction

So, if we are going to be building all of these flying machines, where can we find the materials the children will require?

No worries!

We’ll just find the parts laying around!

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I knew this would come in handy!

 

(dissassembling that broken audio cassette player we mentioned earlier this spring)


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Flying Machines

Our interest in flying birds has sparked an avalanche of engineering ideas.  One student suggested that the best way for us to study the birds would be to build a flying machine.  This way we could observe our feathered friends more closely.

Many of the children have begun creating prototypes (their word, not ours).

On another day we asked them what materials they would need for their machines. (We want to make sure we’re prepared!)

“metal, string, more metal, and gas”

“We have to do little wires to make them work.”

“very small metal pieces”

“We need some wire that carries electricity to keep the boosters working.”

“We need a plug as big as this building so we can go far.”

“Or, we need to make a fire on a stick and it attaches to the wire.”

“We can make a seat out of fabric.”

“We need shirts to make a buckle, it buckles in front and in back.”

“June is when the birds come out.”

“We need a parachute and a lighter, in case the boosters go out.”

“And metal cages to catch the bird, with food in it.”

“fabric for the wings”

“We need feathers for the wings.”

“space gears”


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Honk!

Upon returning from our Spring Break, we noticed two new inhabitants near our pond.

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We have been watching them from afar and are beginning to formulate questions about our new feathered friends.  The goose above can be found sitting on the pond’s island, visible from the both the pond and fireplace decks.  The other goose can frequently be found hanging out on our sled riding hill.  We can easily observe the former from our Nature Playground.

This morning, we asked the children where they thought the geese might have been before arriving at our school

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We had answers ranging from “Up north” to “Hawaii”.  The children noticed that some of the ideas held connections.  Many places were warmer than Pennsylvania and a few listed the same state.  One of the students added that geese like to go where it is warm in the winter and referred to it as “hibernation.”  This set other children on their toes, with their hands waving madly in the air.  It took us a few tries, but eventually we figured out that it is actually called “migration” and that hibernation is something different.

Our new questions are:

Who hibernates? Who migrates?

We’ve asked the children to help us figure out where to find the information.


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Fur and Feathers

The most recent trains of thought have been driving in diverse directions. About half of the children regularly play “Koala” during outdoor classroom and morning choice. In the beginning, the koalas frequently threw themselves into battle, fighting the invisible and unwitting foe. However, soon the children discovered (yes, there was a bit of coaching here) that koalas are actually rather peaceful creatures. A few of the attacking koalas were babies, so the game moved to “keep a baby koala on your back [walking with someone walking behind you] and keep it safe.” That’s what Mama koalas do, right?

The other half is obsessed with “Puffins.” These puffins are lovingly re-created each morning using paper, tongue depressors and lots and lots of glue. Puffins appeared in the building area, in the loft, at the light table, and outside the classroom. We aren’t sure how much information our children actually have about puffins, but we are certainly curious to find out.

Here are the tidbits of prior knowledge that we collected today when the children were asked:

What do you know about koalas or puffins?

  • Koalas climb trees. -KV
  • Puffins climb trees, too. -CS
  • Puffins are black and white. -MH
  • Koalas hug the trees and use their feet and hands to climb. -AH
  • Koalas sleep for half and hour in a tree. -KH
  • Koalas sleep at night in trees of bamboo. -WS
  • Koalas look for food in trees, like apples. -LZ
  • Puffins are white. -NP
  • Puffins have wings that are black and they have orange feet.  They don’t have claws. -AG
  • Puffins fly. -RF
  • Koalas usually stay up in trees and eat leaves. -LW
  • Puffins sometimes go in rabbit holes. -ZW
  • Koalas live in snow. -SS

Now that we have some ideas about these two creatures, we’ll begin crafting some questions to learn more.