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.