Since we compared the butterfly anatomy to the human anatomy we noticed the children were talking about their hands. To nurture their conversation, we provided the children with markers and covered the table with a large white sheet of paper. We then encouraged the children study the palms of their hands. This was a challenge for the children because while we know the children may look at their hands often, we don’t know if the children have ever noticed the lines on our palms.
The purpose of this study was to teach the children not to just look but “how to see” and visually observe our surroundings. Encouraging the children to take the time to use their eyes to study and see the small details in certain things will benefit the children in the future. After studying the details in their palms the children traced their hands and then used the sharpies to draw the lines and details on their hands.
This activity was a wonderful opportunity to observe. Not just “watch” or “look at,” but to observe and soak up the small details on things we encounter every day. During this activity, the children also worked on their fine motor skills by gripping the markers, their hand-eye coordination by drawing their hands and the lines within them, and language development by discussing what they observed and what they were drawing.
Drawings present a key opportunity for teachers to benchmark the cognitive development in each child. According to Illinois Early Learning, drawing from observation involves several different kinds of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that may or may not be directly addressed in the benchmarks. For example, when children draw and sketch, they…
- Make decisions about what to emphasize and include in a drawing.
- Consider which aspects of an object are most important to include.
- Become skilled observers, finding out more about the objects or living things they draw.
- Have opportunities to notice multiple perspectives on a single object.
- Become familiar with the importance of using multiple forms of representation (e.g., both words and drawings) to express ideas.
- Are able to self-correct as they check their own accuracy.
- Hone their fine-motor skills.