We know our students learn in many different ways: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and social. Studies show that for Early Years classroom there is nothing better than activities that require kids to use their hands as well as their minds.
Hands-on projects obviously engage kids who are tactile or kinesthetic learners, who need movement to learn best. They also engage students who are auditory learners, who talk about what they’re doing, and visual learners, who have the opportunity to see what everyone else is creating. For social learners, the time spent in small group conversation will strengthen their knowledge. As students put projects together or use familiar materials in new ways, they’re constructing meaning.
During The Open Inquiry times students were given an opportunity to conduct water experiments in our Ocean Area.
Students experimented with all the things they could find in the classroom. there was a happy buzz discussing what happens to the objects when you put them in the water.
- Let me try this…
- Look it floats, but… look it doesn’t anymore…
- Let’s try this one. I know it will sink but I want to try. It floats!!! Look it floats!!!
- This one is sinking.
- This one is heavy. It will sink…
- It still comes up again, so it is floating!
- Oh look it is floating. All balls are floating!
Some assumptions that were challenged:
- All heavy things sink.
- All magnets sink.
- All balls float.
- Shells float because they are from the ocean.
On the next stage of an experiment students were asked to predict how the object behaves in the water.
- I think it will sink… Sinks! Sinks! I was right!
- No, this one doesn’t. It’s a magnet.
- Both of them float if we put one into the other nothing happens.
- Why the lion is floating and the tiger is not? – Because the lion is a baby and it is not heavy yet, it’s not big.
There were several objects that were hard to determine if they are sinking or floating:
- Is this one sinking?
- No, it’s floating.
- No it’s sinking!
- It’s not any it doesn’t float and it doesn’t’ sink!
- No it is floating look, it’s not on the bottom.
- On the bottom it looks like it’s floating, but from the top it looks like it’s sinking!
- Look from the side, it floats.
- Some balls sink, because they are magnets.
- If there is air inside it floats.
- If there is water inside a cup or a Lego piece it sinks.
Then it turns out that the metal bowl is floating perfectly well. Keen minds started testing other “boat like” objects.
- We can put people inside!
- What happens if you attach magnets to the metal bowl?
- What if we put the magnets inside?
- Let’s put a lot of people in and see if it is working.
- I can try this lid. It can be a raft!
- If you have a lot of water in the bowl it sinks, but without water it floats.
- The cup – no good, it go down and no people.
- The little one is down with only one people.
- Let me try and put some tape on it.
- I can count how many people my boat holds.
This is when the teachers decided to help children deeper their understanding. Therefore we transferred the “Float or Sink” experiment into “Boat Making”. All the objects that might work as a boat on their own were removed and a variety of different materials were displayed on the table next to the water bin.
Students were experimenting with different materials. Helping each other and discussing their theories. Feeding from each others ideas they were building common understanding.
By the time it was time to share and reflect students had a lot to communicate:
- I was wondering how not to make water go in when I put the people in. So I put the people in and put some tape over and it worked.
- When water comes in the boat it sinks!
- If you put too many people in the boat it sinks. If there are no people on the boat it floats.
- A big boat can have a lot of people on it.
- Plastisin sinks if you don’t make the sides go up high.
- The boat needs to not crook on the side, then the water comes in too quickly
- It was made out of metal. And I tested it and it worked, and we kept on putting people in and it holds 45 people.
- Different boats hold different number of people.
Students were very thoughtful while sharing their findings and giving suggestion on how to make boats better.
- The boat should have the sides so the water doesn’t go in.
- You need to make it thin and make the sides up-up-up for water not to come.
- The boat can’t have holes.
- If you touch the boat and push it down or on the side it sinks.
If you are not too tired of reading, sit back and enjoy the video.
Have a great week,
The Pre-K Team