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Learning Through Play Outside

Friday, March 29, 2013

I use to just watch the kids when they played outside to make sure no one got hurt and that they played nice.  Now I realize that their outside play contains important learning opportunities such as social skills, cooperation and problem solving! I am learning to grab onto these opportunities more and more!

These two were trying to create a teeter-totter with our logs, but it was not working out so well!  I loved watching them problem solve and work together to come up with a solution!

Now it works!

Collaborative Marble Mazes and Marble Runs

The kids were very excited to work together on large scale marble mazes and a marble run.  They chose to make a marble run out of paper tubes and cardboard and two marble mazes, one with legos and one with a giant geoboard and rubber bands.  The teamwork and problem solving were amazing!  We had to work through the process of talking about their plan as a team, and learning to listen to each others ideas.

The provocation- Giant geoboard, rubber bands, lego board, legos, and marbles
When the kids started making the marble run, they decided they wanted to make it zig-zag back and forth.  Then they went to work!

Testing it out with a marble to see if what they have so far will work
What they have so far!  
The kids still have some problems with the marble run that they will try to fix after Spring Break.  They are excited to figure out ways to fix these problems!  I love hearing their conversations as they figure things out!  I wish I was better at getting quotes!  That is a part of documenting that I am still working on!
When the kids started working on the geoboard and lego mazes, they figured out right away that they needed to create a barrier all the way around the outer boarder.  They would test out their mazes by having someone lift them up and move them up and down while someone else would move or place new rubber bands and legos on the boards!  I loved listening to all of them think out loud to each other!

The rest will have to wait until after spring break!  We will keep these experiences available for them to explore.  The kids have been asking a lot of weather related questions and they found the first flower of spring in our natural play area! This may guide our learning when we get back!

Ramps, Gravity and Marble Mazes

Monday, March 25, 2013

The kids have been working hard to create ramps to make their cars go certain distances.  To reinforce what we have been investigating we did some experiments dealing with ramps.

I got this lesson from an amazing teacher in our building, Mrs. Atkin!  I tied a string to a piece of cardboard.  The kids were to try to make a ramp that would make a cylinder stop rolling when it got to the end of the string.  It was great watching the kids adjust the ramp based on what happened when the other kids rolled the cylinder down the ramp.  They realized right away that the cylinder went way to far if the incline was high!  You could see the problem solving going on in their brains by looking at their faces!  They were concentrating so hard!  They were also verbalizing to their friends things to try! It took two rounds of trying before one of the kids got it to stop at the end of the string!

Through this experience, they learned that if a ramp is high, objects will roll faster and further.  If a ramp is low, objects will move slower and not as far.  But why?  I decided to give them another experience about gravity to see if they would make a connection.

The kids timed how long it took to for a ball to hit the ground when dropped.  We discussed how gravity pulls down very fast!

We then timed how long it took a ball to roll down a low incline and a high incline.

We discussed how the ball was much slower rolling down a low incline and it rolled down the steep incline much faster!  They realized that gravity pulls an object down a steep ramp faster. The lower ramp was almost "blocking" gravity!

 My favorite part of this experience was their documentation.  They really did a great job recording what they noticed!

Next, the kids made some marble mazes.  They came up with a plan, then put their mazes together.  We used puff balls instead of marbles.

When they played with them, they noticed that if they had too steep of an incline, the puff ball would just go over all of the straws.  They figured out that they could control the speed of the puff balls by the incline they created to move it through the maze slower.

They had a lot of fun playing with these.  This experience gave them some ideas for the type of projects they want to do to show our learning, which we will start this week!  Here is a sneak peak of something I made for one of their ideas!

A giant geoboard!  It is huge!!!

Force and Motion- An Inquiry About Gravity

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why do they not need to apply a force themselves to make a car go down a ramp?  We investigated.   I had them jump up and notice that they used their legs to PUSH them up.  But what pulled us all back down?  There were a few kids who had gravity in their schema and told the class about it!  We watched a video of astronauts floating and talked about how we would all float away into space if gravity did not PULL us down to the earths surface!  We came to the conclusion that gravity pulls their cars down their ramps!

Again, I decided to reinforce this science concept with art!  We took a canvas outside with some paint and put it in a box.  I squirted paint (using the PUSHing force) onto the canvas and threw in four marbles.  The kids took turns using the canvas to create a ramp by pulling one side up higher than the other and let gravity pull the marbles down the ramp!  In this way, we created a collaborative piece of art by using GRAVITY!  It turned out so beautiful!  The kids loved it and it reinforced that gravity pulled down!

Using gravity to pull the marbles down the ramp.

Documentation showing both investigations about Force and Motion

Force and Motion- A Lesson on Pushing and Pulling

This week we continued investigating force and motion.  The kids are really getting into their ramps so we have been making connections between our new learning and the ramps that they have been making.  We discussed the purpose of ramps and decided that ramps help things go down.  As the week went on, they also came to the conclusion that ramps help us get up too!  They noticed that there are ramps all around us!  They mentioned ramps in our school in one of the hallways and the slides on our playground.  They also noticed ramps on roads in the form of hills and ramps on sidewalks to help their bikes go over curbs.  I wanted so bad to point out that ramps help us go up, but wanted them to come up with that conclusion based on their own experiences!  Sometimes, we as teachers just need to wait and let them discover it, rather than just telling them!  (It's soooo hard!!)  All of the sudden someone remembered that there was a ramp that helped us get up on our play equipment on the playground!  So now they realized that ramps help us get down AND up!

They all now know that NOTHING will move without a force!  They are always asking "What kind of force makes us move?  What kind of force makes this or that move?"  So we investigated!  We came to the conclusion that every force is one of two things!  Pushing or pulling!  We made all kinds of things move, including our bodies!  We use our muscles to push our bodies and make them move!  We push a toy car.  We push and pull scissors to make them cut paper!  We push and pull our pencils to write!  I loved seeing them making connections with these two forces to real experiences!  To reinforce our learning, we did one of my favorite things and used art!  They made three dimensional sculptures using the two forces of pushing and pulling!
The first step was to make a plan.  Next, they used their plans and the two kinds of force to create their sculptures.

Pushing and pulling to create a sculpture.
The sculptures with their plans.
More sculptures with plans.

How did this connect to their ramps?  They need to PUSH to get their cars up a ramp.  But what is pulling them down the ramp?  They really don't need to apply a force themselves to get their cars down a ramp!  Hmmm....looks like a lesson on gravity is in order!

New Painted Spring Kit plus freebie!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hello everyone, I am so happy to show my new kit at Digital Crea Store, here is PAINTED SPRING, a colorfull kit with lot of flowers, foliage, paint, etc! Includes all this: 96 elements, 16 papers, 7 cluster elements, 5 cluster frames, 1 alpha set and 4 quick pages. All 300 dpi. This set is for Personal Use.

Do not forget check all the post and grab your freebie at the botton.

Have great day, Lisete.


This is a little freebie, a cluster frame made with the kit, hope you like it.

[download id="68"]


More kits available at Digital Crea HERE.





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