Last week one of my students brought in his Millenium Falcon to show us for news. Usually news last for about 3-5 minutes but being a big Star Wars fan myself we talked and talked for a good 15 minutes at least about the characters he had, their role in the movies and our favourite part of each movie. Afterwards I asked the children what they would like to learn about next. I had a fair idea of what kind of response I’d get; a few blank stares and some very narrow responses. One girl said Dora which was met with a few NO WAYs from the boys. There was no way that everyone was going to agree.
In the end I all but gave up in frustration and when I discussed it with my EA afterwards she suggested a space focus. She mentioned that the class was enthralled when we were talking about the Millenium Falcon and Star Wars. So we decided to run with that interest.
On Tuesday we started off the focus by writing down on an A3 sheet of paper all the things we already knew about the sun. Someone said it was really hot, someone else said it’s yellow and another said it hurts your eyes when you look at it. I find it valuable to get an idea of what the children know before I start a topic or what they think they know. One child told me that if you put seeds on the sun they get hot and taste hot but if you put flowers on the sun they turn into sunflowers. Not scientifically correct but it was interesting to see the thought process nonetheless. I filled in gaps in their knowledge by reading some excerpts from an informational text on the sun.
Following the mat session we made our own suns from an idea I saw on Pinterest. We dropped red, yellow and orange blobs onto a circle and then covered it with Glad Wrap. We squished the paint around and around until it covered the circle, then pulled the Glad Wrap off and threw it in the bin. We glued the sun to black card while it was still wet so we could make some rays. We had extra paint on a icecream lid in case we needed it. We used a cotton bud to pull the rays out from our suns and onto the black card. We glued it to the top of the page so that we can record our thoughts about the sun underneath.
During outside play we also had a lot of fun with a jet pack I had made. I’d found a large postal tube and during fruit time I cut it up with a hacksaw. The children asked what I was doing and I told them I was making a jet pack to fly to the moon with. I sat at our little work table outside and some children watched as I worked through making the jet pack. They asked a lot of questions and I talked through my thought process as I was making it. “Hmmm, I need to join these bits together. I don’t think glue will work. I think I need masking tape.” “Now I need something to make the fire at the bottom.” “How am I going to wear this? I think I need some straps to hold it on.” Once it was completed I did a few laps running around the yard yelling, “To infinity and beyond!” And of course after I had had a good turn myself I reluctantly handed the jet pack over and let the children have a turn themselves.