“Our School” – An Inquiry into Structural Space

Throughout the school year, various topics of interest can emerge spontaneously in the classroom: an inquiry into snowflake patterns on the day of a blizzard, an inquiry into birds on a day when a child finds a feather, or perhaps an inquiry into a topic inspired by a rich read-aloud. This year, finding six pieces of cardboard stuck behind a shelf in Kindergarten led to a rich inquiry into the structural and aesthetic design of our school environment.

What began as a small group of children interested in transforming an unidentified structure from cardboard into our school, became a rich project involving the entire Senior Kindergarten class. “Our School Project” provided a platform for much meaningful learning: artful expressions, mathematical thinking, creative innovation, oral and written communication, collaboration, problem-solving, a study into our identities as students, and much, much more.

Share in this journey of learning below:

 Building a Structure: Using Cardboard and Tape to Build the Walls of a 3D structure

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Discussing and Determining the Type of Structure to Create: Offering Opinions, Sketching Ideas, Voting on Choice for Structure

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Thinking about Exterior Aesthetics: Examining the outdoor environment during a nature walk, painting the structure, and adding windows

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Touring the School to Gather Information: Taking photographs of the interior of the school, recording names and details of each room

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Mapping and Labelling Each Room Visited: Collaborating to construct a map of the school, using a co-constructed list of rooms visited

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Communicating Findings and Inspiring Peers: Inviting classmates to view the project so far, explaining the process

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What details are special to our school? Artful expressions are added to the structure

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Thinking about our Outdoor Space: Sketching outdoors, and developing a list of the natural and built elements of our school property

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Arranging the Final Installment: Painting the base and adding outdoor creations, such as grass, cars, outdoor classroom, etc.

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Who am I in my school? The project inspires us to think about our identities and roles in our school.

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“Our School Project” Completed; Displayed with Documentation in the Hall for All to See!

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We think this is a special project to highlight because of the way in which it unfolded so authentically in our Kindergarten classroom. Their ideas could have been pushed aside at many points throughout the process, but their interests truly led the way to a rich and meaningful project that uncovered curriculum expectations throughout the process of investigation and expression. It highlights for us as educators the importance of listening to and observing the interests of one’s students, and the benefits of asking questions to push for deeper thinking. Those spontaneous opportunities, for us, are always much richer than those that we have planned.

This project is not meant to be a formula or a prescription for a project that you can do in your own classroom. Be inspired by this project, and keep your eyes and ears open for a project that may spark from the tiniest of circumstances!

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