One of our centers had a makeover recently. Due to the sharing of nature collections from both at school and at home, the children have created what they call “The Science Lab.” We have ample acorns, plentiful pinecones, noodle-like nests, and one slightly dead, but way cool, cicada. The children have created their own experiments involving buoyancy, auditory tones, and habitats. Collections are also a great way to practice our math skills.
Our families are made of so many different people. Yesterday’s Morning Message asked, “Do you have a sister?” Children who do have a sister put their names inside a circle that was labeled “yes.” Those without put their names outside of the circle. Today repeated the question about brothers. Taking it a step further, we put two circles on the floor and handed each child a doll to represent themselves. If you have a sister or brother, you put your doll in the corresponding circle. If you do not have either, you put your doll on the outside of the circles.
All was well, until someone discovered that they needed more dolls. One of the children realized that they had a brother and a sister and didn’t know what to do with their doll. Mrs. Pless asked for solution suggestions from the group. We had a few ideas percolating.
Put dolls who have brothers and sisters in between the two circles. We tried it, but the children realized that then it looked as though those dolls had “No” siblings.
Place the two circles on top of one another and then place all of the sibling dolls in the new, single circle. Children who have only one sibling quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work.
Pick up the top (now stacked) circle and slide it over so that the two overlap only a small bit in the middle. The overlap is where you put dolls who have both brothers and sisters.
We have certainly had classes figure out the final solution in the past, but we’ve never had so many thoughtful experimental ideas. It was quite exciting to watch their mathematical thinking stretch.
Monday our City friends joined us for a day of play, songs, hikes and other nature based activities. Both groups of children enjoyed getting to know one another on the nature playground. Mr. Cooper took all of us for a hike before lunch, which we ate outdoors. Many of the children chose to work on one of our two new weaving looms. One is stationary and the other will travel back to the City Campus Pre-K playground.
Now that we have a giant pile of keys to rifle through, sorting them into categories seems only natural. In small groups this week, the children are choosing their own classifications and adding keys as they meet the requirements. Today’s group of three children broke off into two sorting sections. One child quickly established his own set of piles while the other two worked as a team to designate key properties.
After we’d sorted, the children created signs for the categories. The titles are a testament to your children’s creativity and insight. We had groups of “really mini”, “circle-top”, “hammer”, “froggy”, “suitcase” and “oval”. It was quite interesting to see which sets overlapped in characteristics and name.
Our interest in leaves last week inspired a throw-back morning message today. Four leaves were featured and we encouraged the children to support their choices with evidence. Some noticed that a leaf was a different shape or had a different proliferation of spots. Others pointed out the color differences. We were interested in finding many ways to group even a small selection of items.
Once we had experience with finding a single difference, we expanded the activity to combining like items to make sets.
The children invented the “rules” for these set circles.
The problem occurred when our final leaf was placed in the “not spiky” set. A few children disagreed about the general “spikiness” of the long, fern-like leaf. It looked “spiky” in its overall profile, but each individual leaf was actually rounded.
The children decided that it must go in both circles.
As you can see, another difficulty arose. If the leaf was in-between the circles, it was in neither group. If it was creating a bridge between the circles, it was partly in both circles.
It took a bit of playing with the string, but they did discover that if they overlapped the string, it would make a section for a leaf with both attributes.
Our newest research topic is bouncy and buoyant. It rumbles and rolls. The shapes and sizes astound! The children want to learn more about:
Before break, a basket of random bouncy objects was discovered on one of our shelves. Before we knew it, the balls had made their way into every section of the room. There were balls in the kitchen, balls in the art area, balls rolling down planks, balls sliding down steps. It was obvious which direction our next study would take.
We’ve only begun to explore the properties of balls this week. Below is a cross-section of a few children plying their sorting skills on the spherical objects. Later we’ll post a short video highlighting one of the new games they’ve invented.