Road Rally!

After all of the hard work creating our eclectic vehicles, we simply had to host a rally. Last week’s introduction to road signs provided us with the perfect inspiration to create our own road worthy signs.  Once constructed, a lovely chalk road and parking lot provided a backdrop for our debut.  As you will see in the slide show and video, the children certainly persevered, thought flexibly, made connections (one child finally did realize that holes for her legs were required to make the vehicle “drivable”), used critical thinking to decide how to make their car/plane/train move, took on a myriad of challenges, and were obviously participating in self-directed, engaged learning.

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Build on: Take II

The boxes had been chosen, paint had been slathered on, it was time to start adding the finishing touches to our vehicles. Most students added details such as cardboard wheels, steering and otherwise, while other students added items that would be specific to their vehicle. The fire truck friends attached a ladder, hatchet, and hose to fully equip their truck.  Wings and feathers were added to the airplane so that “it could fly faster through the air”.

The students tried many different techniques in order to attach these details. Many of the students felt that glue would be the best medium to use. However, when the glue did not stick after a few seconds of pressing, the students seemed confused. Perhaps glue would not work as well as they had once thought.

On to idea number two, tape. But which kind would work best? The students could choose from scotch tape, masking tape, or duct tape. Some students started with the scotch or masking tape first and while this worked for small items, it was not quite sticky enough. One student had the idea to put glue on the sticky side of the tape in the hopes that it would create the stickiest tape that ever existed. Despite the wonderful ingenuity, the tape just flopped off the box and lay lifeless at the bottom of the vehicle.

Option number three? Duct tape. What a wonderful invention! It seems to have just the right amount of stickiness and flexibility that children start asking for strip after strip. The duct tape was used to hang up signs, feathers, seat belts, and airplane wings. It seemed to work better than any other material available. However, when a child began to add paper rolls to their vehicle, a problem arose.  The duct tape appeared to be sticking to the tube, but not the box. Hmmm, now what? By chance, a piece of duct tape was sticking off the paper tube and happened to stick to the box as well and it clicked! The child then knew that she had to attach the tape to both the tube and the box in order for it to stay put.

It was obvious that on more than one occasion the students were feeling frustrated with the challenge, but they did not give up! When one strategy fell flat, they reevaluated the situation and materials and started again. Isn’t determination and persistence amazing?!

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Build On!

Driver’s license, check. Hands and feet, check. Something to drive? Not quite yet!  This morning’s message asked the children to think about what type of vehicle they wished to make.  Their decision became more complicated with the additional possibility of either creating on your own, or with a friend. They had to do some serious social negotiation and practice the essential skill of perspective taking  to make a group project a reality

Each child also had to think quite abstractly to design a vehicle from our various boxes.  Not one child said, “The box can’t be a car!” or any other such silly thing.  Instead, they envisioned a plan and drew their first draft. We had representations of trains, airplanes, fire trucks, and cars.  They chose boxes based on size, but not on shape.  We’ll have to see how they adapt to the confines of the length and height of the boxes.

ID Please

Inspired by all of the vehicular play we’ve been witnessing, our class has entered into a study of all things that help us move.  We began with “Send It,” by Don Carter, describing how a package travels through the mail riding on a variety of transports.  As a class, we combined brain power and listed as many vehicles as we could think of.

After much discussion, it became apparent that we could not personally pilot any of these without one very important document.  We all needed a driver’s license. Not having a reliable DMV within walking distance, we made our own.  Now all we need are the machines to drive, fly, and move.