|Preschool student exploring ocean and motion!|
It is incredibly important that our youngest learners have the opportunity to make meaning of the world around them through play. In this way, they learn to collaborate, ask questions, problem solve, be creative and ultimately become inspired to learn.
|The calm “ocean” before the storm ( of learning)|
|Listening to shells in “scuba mask”|
When I create new units for our preschool through kindergarten classes, I often begin by asking them what they want to learn about. Their answers range from cheetahs to princesses, buildings to bugs. I then work to see what categories those items fall under, and what meaningful STEM-based learning experiences I can create to capture their interests.
It just so happened, that this time the students picked things that fell into two big categories…. the ocean and how things move. Our OCEAN AND MOTION unit was born! Because Kindergarten standards have an important unit on pushes and pulls it was only natural that my classroom would become a world of oceans and motions for all preschool through Kindergarten students. At the same time, Donors Choose had a Chevron “Fuel Your School” partnership so I was able to purchase all of the ocean and motion materials we needed! Thank you to our additional donors as well!
|Always great to have my husband take time off work to volunteer! “Shell balance” has been a favorite center|
At the beginning of each class, we start with a motion song. This helps give the students vocabulary to explain the way things move, or patterns of their movement, as they explore in different sci-centers.
Even if students are in a center where movement is not explicitly explore (say making patterns in sand with shells) they can then explain the shape of the paths the shells made–zig-zag, curved etc.
|Modeling sand + shells = awesome|
|“This is what it looked like after the water rolled over it”- 5yo|
In Think Tank, students choose from sci-centers. Each center has an activity that is based on either oceans or the way things move… or both! Students are encouraged to explore, ask questions and collaborate to make the most of the experience. Who knew there was so much learning to be done with seashells alone!
3 year old sorts seashells in the “ocean”
As students explore a concept, I also ensure they MUST do so together! My favorite part of the video below is not the engagement of the students, or the testing they are doing, but when I hear a students say, ” Ok! Your turn!” Those collaborative skills are just as important as content goals!
Students will have a few more weeks to explore the world of oceans and motion before we head on our next adventure! If you want to come and visit and explore with us, the door is always open… just bring your flippers and scuba gear!
Up next? PARTNERSHIPS! From Beekeeping to US Forest Service, Author Jason Chin to Birds of Prey, partnerships have been in full swing! Stay tuned!
Until next time,