Today is the day we take down The Nature of Learning Art Exhibition at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The show received a tremendous response from both the gallery and the general public and we are very grateful that we were able to share what we do at School 33 with the rest of the city. Many of the teachers I spoke to from other buildings were asking, "Why aren't more schools doing inquiry learning?" I wonder the same thing. It's fulfilling work that makes both teacher and student happy. It still hits the standards, but with so many added benefits.
First grade- I brought a group down to the studio who were interested in learning about brains. They immediately referenced zombies and then zombie walked to the atelier. I asked if they could show me what a brain looks like. Each student went about drawing their version of the human brain while they shared what they knew of the brain.
Taylor- The brain has lines like noodles. It looks like a bowl of noodles.
Jada- It looks like meat.
Taylor- It's round.
Camron- It looks like a taco.
At this point, the kids start to giggle because Camron had been talking about "Taco Tuesday" earlier and how he was craving tacos, so he was making a joke.
Yarilys- It has a line in the middle.
Edwin- A zomie eating a brain and the brain looks dirty. It has circles and a bunch of things.
Yarilys- It's for thinking. For doing math, doing your homework, for doing anything.
Aniel- You can use your brain for doing numbers.
Yarilys- It helps your body. If you need help, your brain thinks it.
Edwin- Your brain controls all of the body- your mouth, your eyes, your nose- everything! Your heart pumping, your breathing...
Taylor- The brain tells other body parts what to do- it sends messages.
I ask them what they wonder about the brain.
Jada- I want to know what color it really is.
Taylor- Pink, of course!
Yarilys- I think it's red.
Edwin- It's pink.
Aniel- It's red!
We decide to take a survey. The students vote for whether they think it's pink or red. Camron jokingly suggests blue, but the other kids are adament that it isn't blue and he says he was kidding.
We look up images of the brain to see if we can find the answer.
Yarilys- It's like a kind of brown.
Edwin- It's like gum!
The brain, we decide, is a shade of pink that happens to be the same color as used bubblegum!
Tomorrow, the students will create brain models out of clay and we will see if more "I wonder" questions come up!
The students created models of the brain. To figure out the weight of the brain, we went online and found out that the adult brain weighs about three pounds and an infant's brain weighs about a half-pound, so the students decided they needed something in the middle. They chose to use one pound for the size. They were able to weigh the clay they needed with a one pound package of modeling clay.
|Weighing the clay using non-standard units of measurement.|
|Mr. Roberts brought in stress ball brains for the kids to use for modeling.|
They thought these were the coolest things ever.
Second grade continued to work with balance:
Kindergarten students have been working on seeing lines and shapes in the things they draw. We outlined photographs of farm animals on acetate to see the lines we need to draw a little more clearly. Then, they completed observational drawings based on the lines and photographs.