Over the past few weeks Cohort A has been interested in various activities related to design. Last week we started to design our own marble ramps. The children all collaborated on how to make a successful marble ramp using cardboard and tape. They split themselves up into groups, discussing how they wanted to connect their parts of the marble ramp to form one big marble ramp. "Let's try attaching it to the wall and make it like a loop!" said one child to another, "Yeah, but how would we do that?" replied the other child.
Another group of children began constructing their part of the ramp on the stairs, using them to support the ramp. "We have to get the box to stay up", said one child as they were problem solving to get a box they were using to stay in place. Once they were successful with that, they began to discuss how they wanted to build the rest of the ramp. "Let's make it go all the way down the stairs" said one child to another. The other child nodded in agreement and they worked together to finish their ramp.
Some of the other children decided to make their own smaller ramps instead of connecting them to form a bigger one. "We need more cardboard underneath our ramp so it doesn't fall!", said one child to another, "We need more tape too", replied the other child.
This activity led to another activity the next week. The children built a Rube Goldberg Machine. The goal was to construct the machine so that it could move a ball. They used the stairs to start constructing a ramp so that the pieces they were using would roll down at a fast enough speed to move the ball. One child made this observation; "We need to build railings so that the pieces don't fall off the ramp when they are rolling down". Their partner agreed with an enthusiastic "Okay!". They began to build railings using different methods to construct them until they found one that worked.
The children noticed that despite having the railings, a piece they were using didn't always roll down the way they wanted it to. They discussed different ways to get the piece to move the way they wanted it to. "What if we build more railings?" one child asked. "We can try using a marble!" said another.
After testing out different ways of using a marble, they realized that the marble was too small to move the ball the way they wanted it, so they switched back to the piece they were using before. They figured out a method to get the piece to roll down the way they wanted and were very excited at this discovery!
While the children were unable to get the ball to move on its own with their machine, they were not bothered by it as they had fun constructing it and testing it out. One of the children suggested that next time we should have more of the larger pieces brought out so they could construct more railings.
It was fun to see them work together to problem solve and share their different ideas with each other. All ideas were listened to and used to try to make their Rube Goldberg Machine work.
Over the past few weeks Cohort A has been taking an interest in 'designing' activities, such as building roadways for towns, snow sculptures, ice art, etc. For one activity this week our children worked with water, dry erase markers and a glass plate. The idea was to see if the water could get the design they made with the dry erase marker to dance on the plate.
The children were encouraged to draw shapes, stick people, or any idea they had on the glass plate. After they drew the image, I asked them if they thought the picture they drew would dance on the plate. A few of them decided to make predictions and see if they were right.
They all said it wasn’t going to work.
The best part was when they questioned the activity... how did it work? Why did it work?
So, we had a discussion about the different steps they needed to take to see how it worked and how the ink floated in the water. We talked about how the marker was leaving behind a mixture of pigments and a type of alcohol together. After the alcohol dissolve, all that’s left is the pigment of colour as a solid. With the plate being smooth, when you pour the water on the plate the coloured drawing should slide off the plate and float in the water. One of the kids said, “oh that’s how it works?" and another, “that’s so cool”.
Seeing the expression on the children’s faces as they realized that they have done magic was priceless. I say magic because one of the kids said, “I’m doing magic”, as they kept on dumping the water off the plates and drawing different pictures to see if each one would lift off the plate.
Come back to see what we have planned next!
This week in Photography Club, the children in cohort A explored the dramatic world of movie making. I have noticed that when the children have the phones and cameras, they almost always want to take videos so I figured why not take that all the way to making their own movie! In pairs of two they got to choose from four different genres; drama, comedy, scary, or adventure. Once they chose their genre we headed outside and started filming.
This group chose to make a scary movie... beware of zombies!
At first some of the children were confused about how taking videos on the phones will magically make a movie. I explained that once they have all the "raw" (unedited) footage, they can play around and add cool edits and effects, they were very excited to hear that. We also talked about all the different roles that go into movie making, like the director, actors, camera operators, and even stunt doubles. One child remarked that "even though there's only two of us and not a big crew, we can still take turns and make it work!" and that is exactly what they did! While one child would be acting, the other would be directing and filming.
These two children made a prop monster out of the wet sand, thank goodness they vanquished it!
We will continue to work on our movies by editing them all together and adding titles and credits. However, I can give a couple spoilers before the final premiers... one of the movies is called Treasure Hunter, and another is called Romantic Comedy Surprise. Stay tuned to see the final products from these up and coming filmmakers!
One afternoon at the forest, a group of children from Cohort A joined together for some snow stencil art. Each child chose what colour of water they wanted to use. Then each child choose a cookie cutter they wanted to make their stencil art with in the snow.
“Look, the snow matches the cookie cutter". As they continued squirting the coloured water into the cookie cutter lying on the snow.
As the children were watching the water fill up the cookie cutter, they observed how the coloured water was absorbing into the snow and leaving an imprint of their shape. One child said, "This is lots of fun to do." Another child said, “Maybe we should try using the cookie cutter to make shapes out of just the snow".
When the children were finished, some decided to bake their favorite cookies with the snow shapes. We may have a few bakers in the near future from Cohort A.
We’ve noticed that Cohort A loves Minecraft! Almost every day, they incorporate Minecraft into their play. Whether they’re building Minecraft characters out of Plus-Plus blocks or acting out scenarios, Minecraft always seems to be an interest that they return to.
Based on these observations, we decided to delve into the world of Minecraft and give Cohort A the opportunity to create their own Minecraft potion!
To represent the potion ingredients, we filled up six jars with coloured water and different scents. Before we opened each jar, the children wanted to guess the scent.
These were some of their comments...
“The orange jar probably smells like orange!”
“This one smells like chocolate!”
“Eww, I don’t like this smell.”
“For sure this one is cinnamon!”
Each child was given a cylindrical bottle as their potion bottle and an eyedropper that they used to add their ingredients. Some of the children chose ingredients based on colour, while others focused on the smell.
As the children were busy creating their potions, I asked them to think about what their potion would do. We had some very creative answers! Some potions made you invisible, while others gave you the ability to breathe fire!
Once their potions were complete, they were given a spray cap for their bottle. This allowed them to spray or squirt their potion onto the ground! One child said, “it’s like perfume!”
This activity was a blast! What a great way to bring Minecraft outdoors!
On Wednesday, Cohort A got the chance to sign up for a fun new club, the Photography Club! Our first activity was a photography scavenger hunt. The kids each chose a partner and got to use a device (either a phone or digital camera) to find and take photos of each of the items on the list. They were all very enthusiastic to find each one.
These two photos are "take a picture of someone else taking a picture" and as you can tell they're already pros, just look at that photographic composition.
One child who is very tech-savvy even started to edit the pictures that he took on his phone, and took a whole bunch of videos as if he were one of his favorite youtubers! Another child was struggling with how to take a picture of someone running and jumping, so we did some experimenting with timing and shutter speeds.
After some trial and error we figured out how to time the shutter just right to capture these photos!
Each group successfully completed the scavenger hunt and had a great time doing so. Two of the kids even continued taking photos of whatever sparked their interest after they were done. One child said to me "I hope my phone doesn't die in the cold, I want to be photographer for the rest of the day!" Being a photographer myself, that made me very happy to hear. I'm excited to see what their creative minds will bring to the table next week!
Cohort A has continued to show an interest in designing their own shelters. We decided that while creating shelter is important, it is also important to be able to share the space with a friend. The educators came together and offered the children an experience to learn a new life skill, we learned how to sew! The idea behind this activity was for the children to sew a survival buddy that could hangout with them in their shelter.
Since sewing is a new idea for many of the children, we noticed that some were a little hesitant to try at first, but with the encouragement from the educators, the children dove in. Soon the survival buddies were coming to life!
It was clear that the children enjoyed being able to make something that they had pictured in their head, from start to finish so we decided to make sewing a weekly event. Cohort A became sewing machines! Every Thursday, both morning and afternoon, the children got together to decide what they wanted to make and put the plan in action. They made pillows, gym bags, wallets, money pouches, survival bags for their buddies, and even created details, such as faces by sewing on buttons and felt on to the fabric.
I'm looking forward to future creations!
One chilly afternoon, a child from Cohort A noticed a shovel laying in the snow and lightly stepped on the shovel side resulting in the soft fluffy snow to slip right off. The child began to manipulate the shovel to find how they could make the snow fly up off the shovel into the air. The educator noticed that this child wanted to take it to the next level, so they offered help in trying again! By moving the shovel around and testing out different places step, along with different amounts of pressure, the child realized that if they stepped on shovel end with some force that the snow would catapult up into the air! Unfortunately soon after, the child had to go home but the fun didn't stop there.
The next day the child continued to explore how to use the shovel as a catapult! The child grabbed a shovel and covered it with small snow blocks. They needed a bit of direction on where to place the blocks, but with some help they placed 2 bigger blocks of snow under the shovel handle about a quarter way down to force the shovel to incline. Next, they covered the shovel scoop end with smaller snow blocks and once the child had the catapult ready to go, they stepped on the shovel handle and watched the snow fly up high! The child was quite excited by what they saw!
By the third day, the child had it pretty down pat and was telling the educator exactly what they needed help with in order for the catapult to work. The child expressed that they would need about 10 blocks for the scoop side and a couple more for underneath the shovel handle and asked the educator for some help gathering the snow blocks. At one point, the child placed snow blocks on both sides of the shovel and covered the handle. The child said, “Look! It’s a see-saw.”
Through this experience, we decided to bring life to catapults indoors and let the children try and build their own. A table was set up with big popsicle sticks, smaller popsicle sticks, paper cups, rubber bands and glue. This brought all of the children in cohort A together and they were able to practice their problem solving skills as they manipulated the materials into their own catapult designs! Of course once the catapults were complete we needed to test them out. The children quickly learned the power of gravity as they experimented with different items on the lower end of the catapult. We used different materials such as rubber bands, marbles, buttons and dominos to try figure out which ones would be able to make it the furthest!
As the week went on, the children came back to Dawn and Dusk with stories about how they were able to use their catapults at home. We may have a few future designers in Cohort A, as one child explained that they used their catapult to dispense dog treats for their dog to catch in the air!
This month the children in Cohort A have been exploring the concept of survival. This week we brought that to life with an interactive game in the gym to test their survival skills. The game was aptly named 'survival' and the kids were split up into two teams of four. Each team had a hula hoop on their side filled with four pieces of food, the name of the game was to get all eight pieces into your hula hoop without getting tagged.
This team was so close to winning it all, with only two pieces of food left to collect to survive!
Each child was also given a tool to help fight off the opposing team. Now what tool might that be, you ask? A flashlight! The use of such a tool is to "tag" the opposing team members by shining the light on them. To up the anti, we also added mats set up as barriers and shields. The children were really great at working together as a team; while one child would guard the food, the other team members would run across the gym to capture food from the other team.
Each person had a role to play in the survival of the team.
Once the game started to die down and there were only two kids left, they took it upon themselves to adapt the game and make it their own. One child grabbed all the food pieces and hid them around the gym and behind the mats while the other child closed their eyes. Once all the food was hidden, the challenge of finding them all began. It was a hunt for all the food needed for survival. I can't wait to see all the other ways these kids can show off their survival skills!
On a cold winter morning, Cohort A had the opportunity to create animals out of clay! They were given two prompt questions to help encourage their thinking process which led them to their design!
Where does your animal live?
How does your animal survive?
Some of the children flipped through animal books to inspire them, while others relied on their imaginations alone to create their animal. The children rolled the clay into shapes and used toothpicks as tools to cut, carve and add texture to their animals. One child decided to stick toothpicks into his clay animal to represent antlers! Another child mixed two colours of clay together to create a marbled effect. Each child took on a different approach, resulting in so many unique creations!
When the children were asked about their animals, they all came up with very detailed answers.
One child named the beaver she made George.
A second child explained why her two caterpillars were different colours... she explained that the larger one was older and lost its green coloured stripes as it grew!
A third child explained that her unicorn eats rainbows for breakfast.
Later on, one child presented another question to the group...
"After you make your animal, draw its habitat and think about what's in it... is it a magical habitat??
After hearing this prompt, some of the children drew their animals habitat on a piece of paper and then started playing with their clay animals. We also overheard the children talking about how they wanted to preform a play with their clay animals and habitat drawings!
We will definitely give the children the opportunity to explore this idea sometime in the near future, stay tuned!!