Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kindergartners as Inventors

Our Student Teacher, Miss Belka, noticed after our simple machine inquiry how much the kids loved creating in the Makers Space Area of our room. Guided by her observations she thought they would enjoy learning about inventors and inventions! She started by teaching them about famous inventors and the things they invented. They discussed prototypes, patents, and how these inventors failed so many times before they succeeded! They learned inventors need Grit and perseverance and the will to never give up! Their favorite inventors were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers. 

We went to Carillon Park and learned about local inventors and inventions here in the Dayton Area! The guide was amazed when he asked them if they knew any inventors or inventions and they all started listing them! They got to create their own inventions using craft materials and recyclables.  

They rode the Carousel of Innovation where they sat on Dayton Inventions!

We did a self guided tour. 

Then came the part they were all waiting for!! To see one of the original Wright Flyers! 

For many, that was the highlight of their trip!

Miss Belka set up some invitations for them to create and explore inventions! They could create robots using clay and loose parts.

They could invent potions that did amazing things! They made potions that could make you run fast, disappear, grow longer hair, fly, and much, much more!

Our Dramatic Play Area became the Wright Brother’s Bicycle shop where they could use tools and large loose parts to create. 

We provided all the recyclables and boxes we could collect in our Maker’s Space Area to invent robots. Before creating they had to write a plan that told us the name of their robot, it’s purpose and a picture of what it would look like! They loved this area! 

For a project, Miss Belka brainstormed with them inventions they could create that filled a need or solved a problem. They broke into expert teams to design and create a prototype.

Here is the Jeffery that will find your lost toys. 

The Can Opener that will open all types of containers for them during lunch. It also scooped up trash and food that fell on the floor. 

The Quicker Picker Upper cleaned up messes with its claw arm, trash bucket, bug vacuum nose and scrubbed arm. 

The Simon could get you out if you were ever locked in that you could call with your cell phone. 

The Spider Lamp helped those who were afraid of the dark by lighting up.

We invited Mrs. Sanner’s class to see a presentation about our inventions! The kids loved presenting! That may have been their favorite part!

Here are some photos to show some other things that were going on in our room at the time:

Addition using nuts and bolts. This was also a great fine motor workout!

For this game the kids rolled the dice and took that many ones. They could trade ten ones for a ten rod and when they got ten of those they could trade it for the group of one hundred to win the game. 

For this game they explored the concepts of adding more and taking away. 

We made LEGO sculptures. These turned out amazing! The rule was only that they had to use every LEGO in their bag. 

They are working on reading and spelling c-v-c words.

We had a small group interested in fashion design so we created an invitation for them to design.

We had to say goodbye to Miss Belka and we miss her so much! The kids presented her with a gift. A book they wrote with their pictures in it and our Force and Motion Collaborative art for her to hang in her own classroom when she gets one! She loved them!

The kids are next going to look at things we see in sky. I can’t wait to se how our new inquiry unfolds!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Our Simple Machine Inquiry

During our Force and Motion Inquiry, I noticed a lot of simple machines being created during their play as they explored force and motion. Here are a few examples. 

We read many books and watched some videos about the six different simple machines: Wheel and Axel, pulley, lever, wedge, inclined plane, and screw.
More and more wheels and axles were showing up as they experimented with creating designs that moved better or faster when pushed. 

The experimented with creating pulleys that could lift loads. 

They realized they could use the loose parts to create levers! I loved their excitement as they ran up to me yelling,”Mrs. Myers!! We made a lever!! You have to come see!!” After showing me, they made a bunch more and started running around the playground yelling, “Free Lever rides!!”

After learning about all of them, they all signed up for a simple machine to become experts at and formed expert teams. They worked in small groups with a teacher and researched different objects that could represent their simple machine  and picked one to create as a project.
The Wedge Team decided to make axes for their project. I don’t know why I don’t have more pictures of them working on it but they worked hard painting, measuring, and using cardboard pieces to create a wedge shape for the ax heads.  Each team created a list of materials they needed to make their project. 

The Wheel and Axel Team decided to create a wagon. They had to measure the box and dowel rod so they knew how long the axel needed to be.

The Pulley Team decided to create a flag pole.

The Screw Team decided to make a water slide.

The Lever Team decided to create an Angry Birds Game featuring a catapult.

The Inclined Plane Team made a marble run. They had to do a lot of problem solving before it truly worked!

Every team had to collaborate together and use critical thinking skills to make these. They had to problem solve over and over again to make them work! 21st Century Skills in action!

Next the kids made posters showing other examples of their simple machines that we found around our classroom and helped write the definition of their simple machine. 

Their next step will be to present their simple machines to the class and maybe other classes in our school! For now they are displayed outside of our room. The marble run somehow broke while out there so they will fix theirs soon!

They are so proud of what they have accomplished! I love how confident they become as they do hard things like this! Kindergartners are capable of doing amazing things when given the time, space and materials!