Sunday, July 21, 2013

It Started With Worms

Meaningful Learning: When the work is meaningful the children will come.  

From the first day of schools the kids have been digging up worms!  When the mulch was low they found worms under the jungle gym on our playground.  This became a favorite digging area due it  provided a nice cover from the sun, until the day the fresh mulch was placed on the playground.  The kids quickly moved from the mulch to the dirt filled ditch. But there was one problem… the dirt was too hard.

One day while on the playground I noticed a student was using a “tool” to dig with.
This was something that we needed to discuss during Reflection Meeting.

The class agreed that they wanted something like a shovel but that you could hold in your hand.  So, I gave them exactly what they asked for - a spoon.  One spoon and twenty children? Not exactly ideal, so how many spoons were needed? This was a problem that the kids wanted to solve.

Small Group Discussion:  "Everybody needs a spoon.  We need to make a list." ~ student
The teacher wrote as the children called out names.  "That's it! That's everybody's name" ~ Student
But how could they be sure? How many students were in our class?
They decided to use the "Name sticks" to figure out how many children were in our class.

After counting each name stick they know that there are 20 children in the class, but only 19 written names on the list.  Who is missing?  Time to use the process of elimination.  They pull out the name sticks one at a time, read the name, counted how many letters were in each name, and placing it on top of the name on the list until all the names were covered except one.  "It's Nancy! How could we forget Nancy? She is going to be happy that she is getting a spoon too!"

The spoons made the digging much easier, but the worms were no longer there.
QUESTIONS: What happened to the worms?  What has changed?