In the first few weeks, the children were asked what they would like to know more about. They came up with some wonderful ideas, and all of them agreed that the beach was something of great interest.
The school’s progressive project-based learning method was used here. The children first brainstormed about what they wanted to know more about. Then they came up with the questions they had about this topic:
They then came up with more questions
Their study leads into many areas – science, literacy, art, math:
And then…a trip to the beach!!
The children spent the morning running from the waves, digging holes and trenches, and building sand castles together. Later on, they collected seashells, rocks, questionable crab legs, and sand samples to bring back. They also collected some ocean water together. Some used magnifying glasses to look more closely at the sand, and others drew in their beach notebooks. It was especially windy at the beach and they did some amazing drawings representing the wind blowing sand everywhere!
It was such a valuable experience to be out of the classroom spending time together. Children have been working hard experimenting and researching to answer their questions about the beach, but to actually be IN their project having first hand experience together is the most important “research” they could possibly do.
BEACH STUDY – MATH
Many shells are formed in spiral pattern. Our study of Fibonacci began with a child noticing the shape of a spiral shell and asking how it was created. The growth of these shells follows a pattern found everywhere in nature! The Fibonacci sequence, named after it’s inventor, is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13….each number in the sequence is the sum of the two before it. Flower petals, pinecones, shell spirals, sunflower seeds, apple seeds, radicchio, celery and lettuce heads are just a few things in nature that we have investigated that follow this sequence! Of course, at this age, our aim is not for a full mathematical understanding of a number sequence, but rather to notice that nature follows the patterns of math. The children have been so excited to notice Fibonacci patterns everywhere, and they have led to some beautiful art projects in our room!