A Reggio Inspired Project Connecting Literacy, Science, and Math to the Real World
Over the last month our girls have been excited about exploring vegetables. This new study has been a common thread among our class. With Spring in full swing, flowers and plants are growing. The girls are even noticing growing gardens.
As a taking off point we read a story called Oliver's Vegetables. We discovered many kinds of vegetables through our read aloud. To incorporate math into our story, we took a survey at the conclusion of our book asking each girl which vegetable they would grow in their garden.
The following week our girl's interest continued to grow. Through our study of symmetry we built our observational skills as we looked closely at many of the vegetables on our survey. We used black pen to illustrate the detail we noticed and added watercolor to complete them. This activity invited conversation and continued our exploration.
Look at the bumps on the potato.
They are all over!
What's this one called?
Look at the inside of it.. The squash split open.
I see the seeds on the inside. They are so tiny....
Work With Clay
As we continued growing in our understanding, we added another layer to our study through work with clay. The girls worked hard to create clay vegetable pieces that reflected their ideas and interests. Our work with clay promoted fine motor work along with creative expression.
A Farmer's Market and
The Earth is the home for the flowers and all the plants. They need water and sun to grow.
As our study of letter writing continued, so did our ongoing love of nature. Last week we embarked on a mini-study about the conservation of our Earth. We discovered ways to keep our Earth healthy and learned about reducing, reusing, and recycling. The girls developed a sense of awareness and an appreciation for our Earth.
We read Todd Parr's The Earth Book we considered the beauty of Earth and all that lives here.
I love the Earth because it is our home.
It's a home for the animals too.
If we don't take care of it then we won't have a place to live.
If we pick up liter and throw it away then the animals will have a cleaner place to live .
As we continued reading, investigating, and researching, the girls created black pen and watercolor images of our Earth's beauty. The illustrations truly represent a thankfulness and awareness. We reflected together and wondered how we could share our understanding with others. Our class decided that joining them together in a collaborative book would help others appreciate Earth's beauty as well.
Since our watercolor pieces reflected things that we were thankful for, we decided to write thank you letters to our Earth as wished a Happy Earth day to the place we all call home.
What is that?
E wwww.....It's dead....
It's a dragonfly. Look at it's wings.
It's body is so long.
It's just like the butterflies body!
It's symmetrical. It's the very same.
Look at it's wings! They are symmetrical! They are the very same.
Symmetry is found everywhere you look in nature. It is also one of the most critical themes in art, architecture, and even design. As our study of line continues, symmetry has been a natural addition to enrich our girls learning. When thinking about symmetry, it is one of the most powerful mathematical concepts we can teach during the foundational years..
The study of symmetry can be both simple or complex depending on the designs and patterns. Introducing our girls to symmetry helps them become aware of a truly critical mathematics concept. When the girls begin to design their own patterns, they start thinking in terms of what patterns they like and want to work on themselves.
After teaching an introductory lesson about symmetry, our girls instantly became fascinated and began searching for examples of symmetry in nature and in art. One day, soon after our introduction, the girls noticed a dead dragonfly on the sidewall leading into the cafeteria. They were immediately captivated...
Inspired By Nature's Symmetry
Our Art Center invited and encouraged a partner activity as the girls worked together to make symmetry using loose parts such as seashells, sticks, rocks, and more. The girls sat on opposite sides of the table and used the bi-lateral line of symmetry to mirror each other's design. The results were amazing!
That looks so silly....It's two different faces together. See it's half of Rease's face and half of Hope's face. We should call them Rope!
Our study of symmetry has extended throughout the classroom to areas such as the block center as the girls use mirrors to build and change the angles of the creations they construct, noticing the second symmetrical half in the mirror.
We used our own individual faces to discover symmetry as well. Using a photograph of each girl's face, we discovered what bi-lateral symmetry is. As we cut the pictures in half, the girls explored how to join the two parts together to make a whole face. It was an engaging experience as the girls connected different faces together along the bi-lateral line of symmetry. To further the activity many girls chose to use the photograph of half of their face as they drew the other half with black pen.
The best learning takes place when it's meaningful and hands on.
During our recent experience on the farm, we were able to take a hands on approach as we collected, gathered, and observed our farm's fresh flowers. The girls completed still life paintings using our bouquet for inspiration. Last Monday when we arrived at school, we noticed our flowers were dying. We took this as an opportunity to look closely just as a scientist would. Our open invitation welcomed the girls to investigative the flower as they took it apart and carefully explored their findings.
Using the various pieces of the flower for exploration, scissors, and tweezers for fine motor development the girls glued the pieces in different ways to create an artistic representation. As they dissected the flowers, they naturally identified the parts of the flower such as the: stem, petal, and leaf. To further the project and add another artistic medium, each girl demonstrated their individuality as they explored watercolor.
As a beginning line exercise, the girls were invited to create a line journal. The journals provided an open ended opportunity to explore the elements of line. As the girls worked through their journals, rich conversation developed.
Look at all my lines.
I made small dots.
Look how far it goes.
When does it stop.
It doesn't. It just keeps going and going and going and going.
Line Journal Entries
Our experiences with line continued and so did the girl's interest. The line journals that we created last week provided an opportunity for individual work. This week we wanted to see how the girls might collaborate and merge their ideas about the elements of line. In our Share The Pen activity, the girls explored an open invitation to create lines using various black pens, colored pencils, and skinny or thick markers. The idea was to begin a line and continue it in any direction. The girls were immediately captivated and drawn to this activity. They sat for extended periods of time creating wavy, straight, vertical, horizontal, little, thin, thick fancy lines. The provocation was so inviting that the next day we had to pull out another blank canvas for our lines. Conversation continued and the girls were so excited to see the art they created together.
Look at my lines.
Look at my lines. They made a dinosaur. See the spikes on his back? They are a zig zag line.
Our study of line also invited the girls to the clay station in our room. A mini lesson about sculpture inspired work with pipe cleaners, wire, wikki stix, and clay. In an open ended invitation to create, the girls represented many different kinds of lines through their work with sculpture.
Look at all the colors. I like my purple line the best because it matches the play dough. The line is like a zig zag. It was hard to make. -JK Student
Our girls are naturally curious about their world. They enjoy being outside and exploring their surroundings. Because of their inquiring minds, our girls are eager to know why things are the way they are and will ask many questions about their natural environment. On a walk outside this week, the girls asked questions such as "I wonder what is under the rocks?" "What are the geese doing?" "Does the flower smell?" and "Why are caterpillars different colors?" Childhood is the time to encourage and nurture early interests in natural world. Now that spring is here, our girls are recognizing the changes in weather, blooming flowers, flying butterflies, and buzzing bees. We began the week with an experience on the farm. We invited the girls to explore like scientists as they searched for signs of our new season. In their quest to observe changes, the girls were inspired. We observed new questions, conversations, and ideas on our trip to the farm.
On the farm we noticed a bed of beautiful flowers planted by our own Hutchison students. We invited the girls to find the beauty in each of the flowers. As we studied the flowers, the girls noticed how very different and unique each and every flower was. The various colors, sizes, varieties, and lines created different ideas and each girl was drawn to a special flower. We welcomed them to cut their flower and study it. There were no arguments or disagreements over the selection of a flower. Each girl found a perfect flower to them. We later decided to join the individual flowers into one beautiful bouquet.
A Conversation On
Later in the week, our bouquet of flowers was so bright and cheerful that it inspired us to pull out the watercolors. First we took the opportunity for a mini lesson on still life art. The girls enjoyed looking for the many lines that outlined the flowers. It was a great practice in being still and observing.
Look at the purple flower.
I see a curved line.
But the stem is straight.
This The red flower is so big.
The stem is long.
In the middle there is a circle line.
After careful observation, the girls used black pens to create a still life. The invitation to paint provided a wonderful opportunity for continued conversation. We are looking forward to seeing where the girls interests may lead us next.
This week we continued our study exploring nests. With the changing seasons, this has been a natural transition for the girls. As Spring approaches, we are learning how many animals change with the season. One of the changes that we have discovered is how many animals build nests and lay eggs.
Last week we read a story called An Egg Is Quiet looking closely at different types of eggs. We discovered several types of animals that lay eggs, and were surprised to hear some of the animals that come from eggs.
I didn't know that spiders come
Turtles come from eggs too.
I know that because I've seen baby sea turtles before.
A shared read aloud called A Nest Is Noisy this week explored various types of nests. We learned that some nests are big, some are small. Some are spiky, muddy, and even hidden.
I've seen a nest before! It was at the swimming pool. There were three eggs inside but they hadn't hatched yet.
Nests are mostly brown because they are made out of sticks and things from outside.
What is a nest?
A nest is a home for an egg. Sometimes birds make nests...and other animals too. -Marley
I think a nest is a place for an animal to lay its eggs. Turtles, crocodiles, and birds lay eggs too. -Henley
Have you ever seen a nest before?
Yes! I've seen a bird's nest at my house. It was in my tree in my yard. I saw the mommy bird sitting on top of the nest. -Ari
I saw a bird nest by the swimming pool where I was swimming. There were three eggs inside. -Hope
I've seen a nest on t.v.! It was an eagle's nest. It was in a tall tree in the forest and it had four eggs inside. -Rease
Where can you find a nest?
You can find nests way up high in a tree. -Collins
They are in trees. Sometimes you can find them on the ground, or in the ocean too because fish lay eggs. -Alexandrea
I think you could find a nest where there are lots of trees...like in the forest. -Grace
What does a nest look like?
It looks like a circle and it has eggs inside that are oval. -Evan
It kind of looks like a bowl. Nests are brown too. -Briella
What are nests made out of?
Straw and leaves...nests look like they came from nature because animals live in nature. I think mostly they are made of sticks and grass and hay and mulch. -Louise
How is a nest built?
Well this is how they really do it....First the birds get stuff from ground. Then they find a branch in a tree up kind of high. Then they use all the stuff they found to build the nest. That's how they really build it. -Smith
Who lives in a nest?
Birds...and dinosaurs, and maybe even unicorns! -Lele
Baby birds live in a nest...A goose too! Spiders build nests too. -Olivia
My nest has sticks around it to keep the babies inside nice and safe....
Black Pen Nest
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This week we have allowed the girl's interest to guide our learning as we study where dinosaurs came from.
Many of our books and educational sights have pictures of dinosaur eggs and nests. We have discovered that dinosaurs were reptiles who did lay eggs. We learned that the living group most closely related to the dinosaurs are crocodiles. With the arrival of Spring, we are beginning to notice new nests around campus. It was interesting for the girls to make the connection that dinosaurs came from eggs.
We are thrilled you came to visit. Our blog will help you gain insight into the happenings of our day. You will see many of our project studies as well as the center learning, experiences, and opportunitiesyour daughter is exploring during the week. We hope you enjoy.
Mrs. Rounder and Mrs. Sowell