What is a VCR?

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based on a number of principles.  One of the fundamental principles is that children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing.  We are living in a world that is becoming more and more dependant on innovative technology.  We want to provide our children an opportunity to undertstand the electronics around them, which in turn will help them be the innovators of tomorrow.

How does a night light work?  Why does the ipad move when I touch it?  How does the elevator door stay open?

To provoke their curiosity, we placed two VCRs in the room.  One worked, and one was a donation.  We allowed for the children to explore how the working one functioned.

The children began putting movies in and investigating the different buttons.








They began sharing their thoughts on how it worked and testing out the different buttons.

Noah:” That is a thing that movies go in”

Noah: “Its a movie slider.”

Ella: “It slides all the movies in their”

Alex: “I thought it was a CVD”

They became familiar with – POWER, PLAY, STOP, FORWARD, REWIND, and EJECT.

All the children were really excited and all wanted to have a turn to push the different buttons! We looked for specific words like PLAY and STOP. This presented a perfect opportunity to practice our reading skills.  As they became familiar with what the buttons did, we sounded out the words so that they knew what they said.

Noah told us their was a power to make the video work from the VCR to the TV. After going through different buttons, the children were able to tell us what it was for. Hendrix told us the rewind made the video go “backwards”, and Natalia told us the forward made the video go “fast”.








Now it was time for them to take their own VCR apart to see what was inside!

Taking the VCR top off took the children a while, but we allowed them the time to try many different ways until they got it!!  We believe in allowing the children the time they needed to problem solve and figure out how to open it themselves.

 This is something that was going on everyday last week. The children would work on it, leave it, and then come back to it when they were ready.

Taking off the top of the VCR was an important task for them because it was a very difficult thing for them to do, we were happy to see that they never gave up or got frustrated.  They were eager to continue and be successful.

 Once it was off the children were amazed with what they saw inside of it…so they began exploring some more…

Each time they removed a piece, a new piece presented itself.  The children worked together to figure out what tools they needed to remove each item.

They were able to take the different pieces out, and little by little the VCR was dissected.

The children were asked what they saw inside. Cami replied, ” a bunch of screws!”

 They have almost accomplished taking the whole VCR apart.

Twisting and turning certain pieces has made it easier to get things out!

“Look a spinner that spins!”

While we were taking the VCR apart we made pictures of what a VCR looks like and the buttons we have learned about.

By: Musa

By: Natalia

By: Timmy

By: Jonathan

By: Amanda

By: Roberto

By: Clarke

Once all of the pieces were out, we had a meeting to discuss what we thought each piece did for the VCR and how it made it work.

First the children talked about the plug.  Ella spoke about how she watched a movie that showed her what was being a plug outlet and it showed lots of wood! Then Noah began telling us that a plug puts electrods in the “thing” that go through and make the power work.

Once everything was out of the VCR, we were left with this.  Taylor and Cami took the lead in describing what this was.  Taylor said, “This keeps it down so no one will break it.”

She pointed to these specific pieces of wire and showed us that these were the ones that did not let the VCR break.

Cami agreed and said, “These have to be in there so no one will break it.”

Hendrix analyzed this piece along with a video.  He realized that the two black circles fit perfectly into the video.  He pushed the video onto this piece and said,

“This spins around with that thing.  When you push it, it goes in, when you don’t push it it doesn’t go in.  When the movie slides this way it stops then you turn it, it jumps and it goes through another part.”

Musa told us that these were “batteries”.  “They help the movie go on.  Not the green piece, just the black and blue ones.  They help on stuff.  They help stuff work.”

Alexandra told us that  “this is for the CVR.  It turns around so the movies can go on.”

This is Noah’s favorite piece.  It spins around when he hits it.  “When you spin this the VCR works.  It spins so it can make it go in.”

Aidan continuously put these pieces in and out of each other.  He said, “It puts the VCR in and pushes it like that”.

Ella held on tightly to this piece making sure that she would be the one to describe it’s function.  She held up her hand high waiting for the other children to finish speaking so that she would have the chance to talk.  With the biggest smile on her face she said,

“When the VCR is on, it takes it apart and makes spikes”

Jonathan agreed with her and said, “Yes!  It turns around and pulls it up.”

“This is what helps take the screws out of the VCR”, said Cami.

Roberto loves this piece, he would put one piece in each hand and move them around each other.  He said,

“They turn to the VCR and they smash everything!”

“THis helps turn the TV on” – Natalia

“This is for the BVR to pull it” – Jonathan

Natalia found that this piece looked similar to the other piece she had already talked about.  She told us that this

“helps turn the CCR on too.”

While we were comparing the pieces we took out of the VCR to the working one, the children noticed this piece and Noah said,

“This thingy shows the numbers.  It is how the move looks like with numbers.”

Alex agreed with him and said, “It puts the movie what time the movie ends.”

We strive in providing our children opportunities to be creative and to inquire how things work.  We believe that chidlren should be provided opportunities to explore electronics and technology in school so that they will be able to understand them and begin using electronics as a material.

Our children will be the creators, inventors, and contributors of tomorrow.

Learning Goals Achieved:

Knowledge and skills.

(1) Reading/Beginning Reading Skills/Print Awareness. Students understand how English is written and printed. Students are expected to:

(A) recognize that spoken words can be represented by print for communication;

(D) recognize the difference between a letter and a printed word;

Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it correctly when reading and writing. Students are expected to:

(A)   identify and use words that name actions, directions, positions, sequences, and locations;

(B)   (1) Perception. The student develops and organizes ideas from the environment. The student is expected to:

(C)   (A) glean information from the environment, using the five senses; and

(D)   (B) identify colors, textures, forms, and subjects in the environment.

(E)    (2) Creative expression/performance. The student expresses ideas through original artworks, using a variety of media with appropriate skill. The student is expected to:

(F)    (A) create artworks, using a variety of colors, forms, and lines;

(G)  (B) arrange forms intuitively to create artworks; and

(H)   (C) develop manipulative skills when drawing, painting, printmaking, and constructing artworks, using a variety of materials.

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