Beginning Structures

Yesterday in class, we began my favourite unit of the year. I enjoy teaching structures as the children have the opportunity to build with a variety of materials – and enjoy it. Even all the girls get into it – though some of them tell me they are not good at it. It saddens me to hear a 7 year old already inhibited by the social expectation that girls are not good at building and at math.

Yesterday I gave my students the opportunity to build with blocks and lego. The classroom was buzzing with activity as the children tried to build what was in their mind. I love seeing their creativity. The structures that they build also give me an idea of where they are in understanding three dimensions.

I spent the day stepping over lego and blocks but I did not mind. Learning was at work – even in their attempts to draw what they had created.

The children in my classroom were exploring and learning today. I am sure that they went home and told their parents they played with lego the whole day but hopefully, by now, the parents will understand that the day was more than just play.

What structures did you build yesterday?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

A Hammer and Nails

One of the highlights of the Structures Inquiry that I am currently doing with my students is a woodworking workshop. Each year I invite a person into my class to run the workshop. He prepares the materials for the project I have chosen (this year I chose the windmill). He brings the tools and woodworking tables into my room and he runs the sessions. This year the grade 1 classes joined my class.

The children love this workshop – and I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they they see that they are building something themselves with a hammer and nails. This year was extra special to me because, not only were the girls successfully building, but the parent volunteers were all women.

Proudly showing off their windmills. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Two days later, all the classes had tried their hand at building and we were ready for the next phase of the project: painting and decorating. I set aside Friday afternoon as ending the week with a burst of creativity is always a good thing.

The children enjoy this part of the project as much as the building. When they took their efforts home, the windmills were held proudly in their hands. I can only imagine the smiles the structures would bring to the faces of those who admire them.

Windmills ready to go home. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Once again the woodworking workshop was a success. No matter what grade I teach next year, I know I will include this activity on my programme.

Do you enjoy building with a hammer and nails?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. The prompt this week is Smile.)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Calm Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that the first week back at school was relatively calm. During the entire week I had four children absent (one child was ill while the others were away on holiday). The smaller group was quieter – and there were less little dramas sprouting up during the day. It was a pity, however, that these children were absent as they missed the initial building part of our Structures inquiry.

The week began with building bridges. After looking at pictures of bridges that can be found around the world, children had an opportunity to build a bridge of their own with help from an adult (who was wielding the hot glue gun). The bridges created were simple – with a couple of grade 2s creating more complicated structures.

Once every child had had the opportunity to build a bridge, we moved onto the next building activity. After learning about axles and wheels, the children had an opportunity to build their own moving structure using this simple machine. Most students created a simple car, with one of my grade 2 boys taking the project even further and creating a body on top of his chassis.

This is the first year I have added these activities into my programme – and I loved seeing how much the children enjoyed the building. One of the boys in my class has already told me that his bridge and car are going to go on the shelf in his bedroom as a decoration.

By the time the weekend came around, I was feeling tired. Yes, I know. We have just had a week’s break! I think I will feel a lot better when the temperatures improve. I am tired of the cold and wearing all the winter gear. I look forward to the time when I can walk out the front door without dressing in layers.

Next week will be a short week due to the Easter weekend. My children are already looking forward to it – and I am sure the children in my class will be looking forward to Easter egg hunts.

Enjoy the upcoming week. And may the weather get warmer in the northern hemisphere 🙂

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Sounds in Space

When I think of sound, I think of children’s laughter, birdsong, the hum of machinery, the sound of pounding feet on the pavement. Sound is all around us: it embraces us, it reminds us that we are alive. Even in the quiet of nature, we hear the rustle of trees and the sound of insects as they communicate with one another.

If I ever thought of sound in space, I imagined that it would be silent. Quiet. Lack of life, to me, meant lack of sound. I was surprised to learn that there is sound in open space. Listen to the sounds recorded by NASA:

Sounds a bit like the music you would hear as background sound for a science-fiction film, doesn’t it? A recording called Symphonies of the Planets from NASA Voyager has been recorded in 5 volumes. The recordings have been created using the instruments on the probes to translate into audible sounds the vibrations that come from different sources. These sources range from radio waves bouncing off the planets, interplanetary magnetic fields, and the planetary magnetosphere. The sounds created are haunting, eerie and unique. Below is a section of the symphony.

What are your thoughts on the sounds in space? Would you buy the recordings to listen to for pleasure?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012