Thursday, April 25, 2013

Exploring the Weather (Storms)

Last week on the morning after a big storm, I read a beautiful book by Patricia Polocco called "Thunder Cake."  It is about a girl who is afraid of thunder so her grandma makes Thunder Cake with her. The little girl has to do many brave things such as gather eggs from "mean ol' Nellie Peck Hen" and get milk from "old Kick Cow." They count the seconds between the lightning and the thunder because they have to have the cake in the oven when the storm is right above their house in order for it to be REAL Thunder Cake.

When we finished the story, I showed them the recipe in the back of the book. Of course, they wanted to make thunder cake! I showed them the weekly weather forecast and we didn't see any more thunder in the forecast so....the kids came up with the idea of creating a storm when the cake is cooking! They wanted a storm cloud with lightning and rain, flashlights, and drum-type items to create the thunder. And so, a new inquiry was born!

We started out by reading books about storms and looking at pictures of storms on the promethium board. We organized what we learned on a circle map. 

We created a chart using describing words about tornados to tie it in with Writer's Workshop.

Next, the kids started working on our storm.   I set out materials inspired by a rain cloud that I saw over at This creator of this blog is amazing and a huge inspiration to me! 

We set about creating a storm!  Some kids strung blue, gray and clear beads to make some rain.

Some strung gold beads onto gold pipe cleaners to create lightning.

Some worked on creating the storm cloud.

When the parts of our storm were finished, we connected the rain and lightning to the cloud.

I hung the storm cloud on the tree that bends over our exploration table.  They did such a great job!  It is 100% created by kids, which explains why it looks so amazing!  Kid-did is always best!

Now we are ready to make Thunder Cake!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Exploring the Weather (Wind)

I took the kids outside with our science notebooks to observe the weather on this nice spring day to see if they would be interested in exploring it further. We sat in a group and discussed what they noticed. They noticed the new flowers, and the wind. They were fascinated by how the wind was moving the clouds and making the flowers bend. I asked if they wanted to explore the wind further and of course they did! They started out by documenting what they noticed as we were sitting outside.

We read some books about the wind, watched a great video of a giant kite festival in Guatemala, and used the promethium board to explore tools that measure the wind. They were very excited to make some tools of their own! We made wind socks and took them outside to find out what they told us. They realized wind socks could tell them if the wind was blowing hard or soft, and what direction the wind blew.

We also made wind vanes and took them outside to see what they told us. I think the documentation done by the kids says it all!

The wind was blowing so hard, it bent most of our wind vanes! The kids were using tier III vocabulary words when describing it outside, calling it a gale and saying they wished it was just a breeze!

Next we will need to organize our data to show what we now know about the wind after our explorations and investigations.

Nature Inspired Art (Loose Parts)

I set up a provocation for the kids to make some art with our loose parts inspired by art created by Andy Goldsworthy. I surrounded the area with photos of his work and work created by kids their age to inspire them.

We discussed how they needed to either create a plan in their head or on paper before they started. So far they have done a good job of creating a plan in their head. This is to keep them from throwing the loose parts into a random pile.  Here are some examples of what they have created.

Some are documenting what their art looks like since they can't take it home.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Completed Marble Mazes and Marble Runs

Here are the finished marble mazes and marble runs!  They did such a great job!  They collaborated, problem solved and were persistent when problems were hard to solve!

They were inspired by the big one to make smaller ones individually and put them out for everyone to play with!

They came up with the idea of using the tape roll to catch the marbles.