At the back of my kinder classroom we have a bag area and some sitting space. This year with a relatively large class I felt that the space was not utilised to its potential! With some guidance from my teaching partner, and 20 minutes after school, we created a beautiful space to play and discover. Next I think we might introduce the book Cat and Fish Go to Sea written by Joan Grant and Neil Curtis.
These beautiful, rustic creations were undertaken as a First Week of School activity. Students were asked to construct their first name initial out of sticks from the playground and then wrap them with colours and patterns of their choice.
Such a straight-forward sounding activity in fact evolved into a lesson in problem solving, patience, perseverance, collaboration, cooperation and knot tying. Upon completion of my 1000th knot for the day, I felt I had got to know my new students quite well – those who could cope with challenge and those who needed more guidance; the perfectionists and the more abstract thinkers; those who could tie a knot and those who could not…
The end products were well worth the effort!
Although they may look like glued together piles of junk, rest assured our students were immensely proud of their Push and Pull Machines. In yet another Scrapheap Challenge, this one at the commencement of our science unit on forces, students’ teamwork skills were put to the test to design a device which incorporated both a push and pull force.
Miss M’s Grade 4 class were learning about contact and non-contact forces. As a tuning-in activity, students were given a paperclip, a magnet and a shoebox lid. Their design brief was to create a maze for their paperclip to travel through, guided by the non-contact force of the magnet. Of course, things got pretty creative straight away with water jumps, tunnels, bridges and race tracks incorporated into plans. This exploration phase of the lesson raised many questions for the budding scientists, which they later went on to test (Will the paperclip make it up the slope with a stronger magnet? Will magnetic force work in water?). They only had 20 minutes to complete the task, but they would have happily worked on their designs all day.
My students love to be given creative technology group work challenges, which we call Scrapheap Challenges. We gather up reusable household items such as cereal boxes, cardboard cylinders, bottle tops, etc and once our stockpiles are sufficient its time for another Scrapheap Challenge! Besides setting group work goals, our only two rules are: don’t burn yourselves on the glue gun and the teacher does the tricky cutting. This one was undertaken at Easter time. The brief – design a harmless Easter Bunny trap. The results – adorable.