Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spaghetti Challenge

We began by having the students build with straws. This activity is a stepping stone towards the Spaghetti Challenge. Each child was given 10 straws, masking tape and was asked to build an upright structure. The children’s first response was, “Up to the Ceiling, Wow.” Before beginning to form a design, a few children sorted their straws by color or attempted to make a pattern. They quickly began to work, some forming a foundation on the table, while others a long connection of straws. As they completed their creation if it fell over or had to be held with their hand, we warmly reminded the students the structure needed to stand on its own. A simple indication on how to achieve their goal at times was needed. The final results consisted of a playground, a house, a giraffe …

Having previously introduced building with straws,, the children were now ready to create a structure using spaghetti. The Spaghetti Challenge was changed a bit from the original rules to make the activity developmentally appropriate for the children. The materials available were spaghetti and masking tape. In an effort to not discourage the children from sustaining a spaghetti structure in an upright position they were allowed to use the masking tape to hold the spaghetti to the table. We began by discussing spaghetti and the changes which occur when it is cooked. The children were scaffold to determine which form of spaghetti was going to be more useful if they were to build with it. They also mentioned several ways in which the spaghetti could be secured as with hot glue, duct tape, paper clips, masking tape or yarn. Each child was given 20 spaghetti pieces, masking tape and the length of the class to explore building. The children began working independently,but as time passed a few decided to work together.  In each group there was a child that broke all of their spaghetti into tiny pieces, and one that clumped all 20 pieces together. Patience was needed as their creations became more elaborate and they had to problem solve why it was falling over or how the structure stayed upright as long as they held it with one hand. The children also grasped the precise pressure when using a piece of tape to connect the spaghetti so that it would not break. 



Friday, November 1, 2013

Nails and Foam Free Art

As an activity to introduce/practice hammers and nails we decided to use a material that was a little easier for the young ones than wood. We decide on rigid foam insulation. We started off by introducing the hammer and nails to the children. We discussed that nails (like glue, screws and tape) are used to bind things together. We showed them how to hold the hammer with one hand and the nail with the other to get it started, them nail in their first nail. From there they were free to practice, and boy did they. After a long period of free nailing we encouraged them to draw on the foam with markers and go back over the lines with the nails.
During the next session every child was eager to get hammering. We brought out the crafting materials and hot glue gun so that they could add to their works of art. Every child learned to use a hammer and nail while creating inspiring works of free art.