"Exploring Nature" News for the Week of 6.25.2012
Shirley G. Moore Laboratory Summer School
During the second week of the "Exploring Nature" program, the teachers have seen an interest emerge as a clear-cut favorite amongst the children: boats! All week the teachers discussed ways to bring in new materials to encourage further exploration related to floating, as well as asking the question "what materials/designs work best when making a boat?" for those children ready to go deeper into the investigation of (and eventual) making a real boat for people to ride on! These investigations and provocations also fueled the enhancement of the real dramatic play boat on the big playground: with a core group determined to make the old aluminum fishing boat into the greatest sailboat to ever sail the seven (sandy) seas of the Lab School playground! All of that and we hatched and released to monarch butterflies. We are definitely making the most of these fours weeks together!
As mentioned, boats have been very popular this past week. The teachers talked about all the ways we could explore the concepts of boats and floating. Our first provocation involved bringing in the water table, as well as introducing various floatable materials to the art table. We knew the children were getting interested in boats from last week's river play, however we wanted to go beyond the toy boats and invite the children to start creating their own boats using loose pieces...and they did! Seeing the materials, the children quickly started creating, and eventually found purpose for their boats as they started to pile the Fischer Price people on them and sailing them across the water table!
As this artistic/creative exploration took place at the art table, we also saw children using the blocks to create larger boats in the back of the classroom. A "whaling boat" was created using the smaller unit blocks, growing in length and complexity each day - now with four masts, main sails, and "a keel to keep the boat from tipping over." We have also seen larger "fishing boats" made from the larger hollow blocks; allowing the children to ride on the boat and "fish" from it with the magnetic fishing poles and paperclip-fish.
The boat play has not been limited to the indoors...not by a long shot! With the sun shining all week, much of our boat play took place on the big river! Similar to the exploration of making boats in the classroom, the teachers decided to bring boat-making materials to the big playground and encourage the children to create new, steadier boats based on the newly-acquired knowledge from the boat-trials inside at the water table. Styrofoam proved to be the heavy favorite for making great boats, however, some children realized simply using the bottle caps themselves allowed for passage through the narrow channels upstream. However, as satisfying as the small boats were, it was becoming clear the children wanted make a boat big enough for them to ride on. Using the gathered milk jugs/cartons, the teachers helped facilitate the building of a larger boat: first starting with milk jugs and rope, and eventually working towards using tools and pounding pieces of plywood together. It's had one test launch (and needs a few repairs/additions), but this boat is getting close to being ready for the Lab School river!
While all this boat building took place at the river, there was a group at the other boat on the big playground that was determined to clean it out and turn it into a proper sailboat! After finding the right "mast" and securing (tying) it down, the children had the all-important job of picking out fabric for the sails. Once decided, the group worked together to "synch the rigging" and "hoist the main sail." The anchor was also attached, and it was clear the group was ready for journeys to far away places! We hope to see these journeys continue into next week...as well as any additions necessary to make such a voyage!
Highlights for next week, July 2-5
- Just a reminder: there is NO SCHOOL on Wednesday, July, 4th, however we will have school Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of that week...please let us know if your family is planning a trip/vacation during that week.
- Further exploration and investigation of boats will continue this week. If you have any experience/knowledge to hare with the children related to boats/boating (i.e. know how to sail, love to canoe, have sailed the globe in a personal catamaran, etc.) please let us know!
Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday,
Amy, Bob, Elizabeth, and Ross