Not only are we enjoying the remaining weeks of school together, we’re measuring them in two very different ways. First, as you may have heard, every morning our learners count the number of links left on our paper chain to figure out the number of days left until school ends, tearing off one link each day. Last week we gasped with astonishment after we counted 15 paper links! In addition to the paper chain countdown, we started Story of the Day, which is a literacy- and math-infused opportunity for each of our learners to have the special job of drawing and telling a story every day until the end of the school year. The stories are attached so that they form a linear record of what our nursery authors chose to communicate as important and meaningful that day. “When people share personal stories from the day, they express themselves, their creativity, and their own experience of life. They affirm the validity of their experience, they gain confidence, they find their own voice, and they also find the edge of their knowledge and become inspired to go back out and learn more” (p. 299, Coyote’s Guide to Connecting With Nature, 2010). Some of the stories are nonfiction; some are fiction; and some are “a little of both.” After a child shares the Story of the Day, it is so exciting to notice the how the length of the rolled up stories is growing longer each day. We plan to present a read-aloud of the “Stories” of the Day to nursery families and friends on our last day of school.
Measurement, geometry, and data analysis and probability concepts emerged during our water exploration, our gardening and habitat study, and lots of block building.
Water Exploration: Measurement, Geometry, and Probability
“I predicted it would sink but it floated!”–Miles
We continued our water exploration from last month by applying what we observed about the properties of water while performing Sink or Float? tests at the water table. The learners chose to test a wide array of materials, such as cork, meat and vegetable trays, straws, stones, toy cars, cardboard, and aluminum foil. First they shared their predictions. Their experiments led them to compare heavier versus lighter weight, length, and shape of an object. At the same time, as they wondered which materials were “seaworthy” enough for building a boat, they explored the concept of buoyancy, much like Archimedes, who discovered that if the weight of the object being placed in the water is less than the weight of the water displaced, the object will float. Some children found that cardboard floated until it became heavy with water; others found that a wide meat tray floated with several objects on top of it, whereas others found that a curved piece of bamboo shoot or wooden stick floated better with less objects on top of it.
Felix: These trays are floatable. I’m going to make the floatest boat.
Ginger: It’s sinking. [The cardboard] is wet and sinking.
Miles: Sinks! It has a big hole.
Declan: This is the testing yard. This boat has a rim.
Felix: My boat isn’t seaworthy, but the corks are floating.
Harriet: My foil boat — it floats. I just made a simple boat.
Felix: Oh man! Those ships almost bumped into each other!
Nadia: This is me and Priya on a boat. I added water to my boat. It’s still floating.
Maya: I’m bringing my boat back to shore. I just use this to pull it back to shore.
Eli: Mine goes by current.
Charlie: This is a sailboat.
Eli: I made a ship that helps boats that are struggling.
Measuring the Growth of Our Plants
“This is the best animal habitat ever.” Constructing habitats and stories for the Science and Art Show.