This year’s summer program (A City for Wildlife) focused on the study of 3 birds. The goal behind this program was for the children to understand the purpose behind the project and why the title was named what i was.
All of the children participated with Farmer Mike in hatching the native birds and understanding the life cycle of these animals. We spent a lot of time understanding what a natural habitat was and the importance of conserving them in our ecosystem.
The older group went to Rosharon, Texas to participate in the release of Bob White Quail in its natural habitat. The quail that we hatched in our school went to a surrogator that is placed in the natural habitat. A surrogator serves as a “surrogate parent” by providing food, water, shelter and warmth for the first 4 to 5 weeks of the bird’s life. Once the birds are old enough the door is opened and the birds can move in and out of the surrogator for about a week. After a week, the door is closed and the birds live completely in the wild.
This was such a great experience for our children to be out in a place like this to see some uninhabited land, and to experience firsthand what it is like to be a part of nature and do something positive for our ecosystem. Please watch and enjoy……..
Over the course of the summer, Little Wonders and School of Wonders will be holding two different programs, Creating A City For Wildlife and The Science and Art of Storytelling.
Creating A City For Wildlife is a program created by our director Maryam Lumpkin and local farmer, Mike, that will further enhance knowledge and awareness of social and science topics that are currently happening in our environment. The program is available for children ages 4 and up.
Our other program, The Science and Art of Storytelling, is being held by School of Wonders. The program will allow the children to explore the study of frequencies and wave forms in music with the integration of literacy, art, and physics. The children will be working closely with the classroom teachers, the atelieristas, and audio engineer to create their own films composed of their soundtracks and visual narratives which will be shown at an end of the summer viewing party. The Science and Art of Storytelling is available for children ages 5 and up that have completed one year of elementary education.
In every classroom of our school, from infants to elementary, our children use food as a language every week. We believe in the importance of educating our children in the nutritional, science, and any other aspect of food that we can. The teachers, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, are commited to providing opportunities for children to guide them in developing life skills that will ultimately lead them in the direction of good health.
At the School of Wonders, we believe that children learn best through experience. As a result, academic lessons are purposely structured to appeal not only to the children’s intellect and curiosity, but to engage their senses as well.
As our Fall Festival is approaching, each child brought in a pumpkin to decorate and display as part of the pumpkin patch.
However, before painting the pumpkins, the teachers decided to use the pumpkins as a way of introducing the children to a range of elementary physics terms.
The children carried their pumpkins outside to the backyard garden, where transparent plastic tubs filled with water were waiting.
Lab report templates were provided, and the students went straight to work recording their hypothesis and reasoning, along with the weight and size of their pumpkin. In recording the data, they utilized two different units of measurement and were asked to articulate the utility of each. They also revisited a term they learned in Math Lab last semester, circumference, or the linear distance around a curved object. The students created a chart to display everyone’s data, so they could refer to the weight and size of each pumpkin before it was dropped and as a class predict whether it would sink or float.
The students’ hypothesis mostly indicated that their pumpkin would sink, and the reasons listed usually predicted that it would because of it’s weight. However, a few students believed their pumpkin might float.
One student’s hypothesis did not focus on his pumpkin, but rather the water surrounding it. His lab report stated that he was certain that the weight of the pumpkin would cause the level of the water to change. As teachers, we could not have been more excited to see that his hypothesis anticipates the Archimedes’ principle, which indicates that, “the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces.”
Finally, it was time to sink the pumpkins! The pre-kinder class and kindergarteners joined our older students for this exciting experiment. Before the first pumpkin was dropped in, the teacher asked the students whether they believed it would sink or float. An overwhelming response of, “Sink!” came from the crowd. After a huge splash, and much to the students surprise, the pumpkin floated!
As we went through everyone’s pumpkins, the students observed that every single pumpkin floated, despite it’s weight or size. They were astonished!
The group moved into a meeting when the experiment ended. They shared their observations, recapped the terms they’d practiced measuring. Then, their reflection went further. They started to offer assessments of why the surprising results were so uniform. One student stated that the reason every pumpkin floated was related to the fact that they all had air inside – enough air to keep them above water despite their weight. Another student shared his theory that the force the pumpkin as exerting downward on the water was not as strong as the force the water was exerting upward on the pumpkin, so it stayed afloat. Perceptibly, this theory triggered a light bulb moment for other students, who were suddenly wide-eyed in exchanging their thoughts about the “forces” of the pumpkins and water.
As teachers, we were so pleased to see how the students seized the opportunity to penetrate deeply into their observations from the experiment to approach rules about the relationships that govern the physical world. In several ways, their reflection surpassed the span of concepts suggested by elementary physics objectives, and the dialogue came solely from the students.
The pumpkin floating experiment was a classic demonstration of the element of play we factor into every lesson at the School of Wonders. It was also a classic demonstration of the trust we place in our students, who, when presented with grade-level appropriate educational objectives, always elevate the learning to topics and questions academically required of students far beyond their age level but perfectly appropriate for their voracious curiosity and capacity to know.
Research is formalized curiosity.
Zora Neale Hurston
On Monday, October 6th, an architect, who is also a mother of a child here at Little Wonders, came to meet with the Mercury students. She was here to assist them with designing the stage they have envisioned for the Fall Festival. As a class, they shared with her their ideas, and she consolidated them so the first draft of the blueprint includes their complete design.
In guiding the discussion, our guest reinforced the importance of new considerations when planning a design. She emphasized the importance of keeping in mind the purpose and function of a structure. She also demonstrated how determining the dimensions of a structure, as well as the materials with which it will be built, facilitate the process of building, which can occur when the design is perfected.
Our students will have a second meeting with the architect on Wednesday, which will include her computerized blueprint of their stage. We are also hoping to coordinate an additional meeting with a builder for the project on that same Wednesday morning. In the meantime, they are beginning to launch the building phase of the project, enlisting the help of parents and teachers alike to help them complete the stage in ample time before the Fall Festival.
The students decided to measure Noah’s height for the dimensions of the bottom floor of the stage. Since Noah character will be the roots of the plant, they wanted to make sure that he would be able to perform comfortably underneath.
The students had the opportunity to describe their ideas and work alongside a Houston based architect. Their thoughts were valued and their ideas were implemented.
At the end of the meeting, the students walked outside to the site and decided where the best location for the stage would be. The architect had them consider where the audience would sit and where they would have the most room to exit and enter the stage.
We are very thankful for the experiences that our children have with our community. Thank you to all of our parents who have participated so far or have offered their help on this project!