Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Kindergarten Inquiry into the Science of Sound

Since the middle of February while were creating our dragon project, I started to notice something.  The kids were taking the logs out of our building area and creating "bands" with them as drum sets.  Kids were making shaker's at the maker's space, two friends brought three sizes of clay to me and wanted to show the class how when they thumped them each size made a different sound.  Another friend took a plastic bottle wrapper off the bottle and pulled on both ends sharply and showing us the snapping sound it made.  I was hoping to avoid it this year, but somehow, every year, kids start exploring sound! So....guess what our next large scale inquiry is:  Sound!

I set out some areas for them to explore first.  Then we will let them wonder.

I set out glasses for them to compose their own music and perform for the class.  I had planned on it being an exploration of pitch, but they noticed something else instead. At first the compositions were very random, then one friend colored an AB pattern and played it.  It sparked a discussion on how there could be patterns in sound and also defined "rhythm" as their patterns became more complex.

After they were done with this area, I set out these materials to see what they noticed about sound. We discovered that the more water that was in the bowls, the lower the pitch and the less water the higher the pitch!

For our Engineers, I put out materials for them to create instruments and show what you have to do to get it it to produce sound.

They created instruments that produced sound through shaking, striking, rubbing and strumming.

For our artists, I set out pictures of instruments for them to look closer and then draw its outline with a sharpie and creatively paint it with watercolors.

We also looked at Picasso's Blue Guitar painting, then hung it at our easel to inspire artists to create their own.

As they explored, two main things came up in our wonders which became our driving questions.  How is sound made? When does sound become music?

We learned that sound is caused by vibrations and that the sound waves travel through the air to our ears.  But something had to happen to make the vibrations start? The kids through exploring came to the conclusion that sound is made by striking, shaking, blowing, rubbing, strumming and plucking. We made instruments to model the different ways to make sound.

To show that sound can be made by shaking, we made maracas.

To explore the concept of pitch, we provided different fillings for maracas: Sand (not pictured), rice and two different sizes of beans, then we compared them.

We also used these as guiros to show show that sound can be made by rubbing.  They just ran a craft stick over the ridges of the bottle.

To show that sound can be made by blowing, we made harmonicas!  The first time we tried them they didn't work.  I realized that we needed thicker rubber bands to create the sound. They could tell the rubber bands were vibrating as they produced sound. They were very loud! The kids loved them!

To show that sound can be made by strumming or plucking, we made cup guitars! They have a great rich sound when you put them by your ear and pluck them as the sound is amplified by the cup!
We used three different sized rubber bands to create different pitches. The kids could really see the vibrations with these.  They could also feel the vibrations on their hands.

To show that sound can be made by banging, we made drums!

To organize our data, we created a web map showing the different ways to make sound and the instruments that are used for each one.

To explore when sound becomes music, I showed them videos of a group called STOMP.  They use random objects to create different rhythms with different pitches.  Look them up on YouTube! They are amazing and the kids loved watching them.  They were inspired and created their own STOMP inspired groups using random objects we could find in our room and our closet! You can see some videos of these on my Instagram account at darlamyersclass.

Through STOMP we realized that when sound has a pattern it gives it rhythm, and when sound has different pitches added to the rhythm it creates music!  After all of our exploring and investigating, we wrote informational books about sound to show what they learned.  The kids really loved exploring the science of sound!

Another thing going on in our room is a Mo Willems author study.  These little friends have been in our reading area all year long.  The kids didn't think they were really anything special until...

we read one of his Elephant and Piggy books. The kids have really enjoyed listening to and reading his Elephant and Piggy books.  They have been very inspired by him in Writer's Workshop and many Elephant and Piggy stories have been written by them.  They decided that they wanted to turn our dramatic play area into an Elephant and Piggy Workshop where they could read and write stories about them!  Now these stuffed animals are extra special to them! Here is our finished area!

They made a sign:

This area has been very popular! A lot of reading and writing skills are being practiced here! I am sure as we read his pigeon and Knuffle Bunny books, they will be inspired to write stories about them in this area also!

We brought out our collaborative canvas again!  It just didn't seem finished yet!  I poured some paint on it and the kids used large craft sticks to scrape the paint across the canvas.  They loved this process!

I think next we will start adding some texture and three dimensional aspects to it!

Here is a clue as to what we are going to discover next!  It fits in this box!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Our Mini Ocean Inquiry

I had noticed an interest in ocean creatures, but not enough for it to be a large scale inquiry so I thought it would be perfect for this last week before spring break!  I set out some creatures and items from the ocean to look closer, explore, wonder and document what they notice.

Here is some of the writing that happened in this area!

I also put together some small world play in the sand so that they could create stories with-in their play! Small World Play has been a favorite area for this group!

Here is another opportunity to come up with ocean stories in our library area:

I set out some beach colors on one side of the easel and ocean colors on the other side and the kids collaboratively worked on the background for a small mural as our mini project.

I left the colors after the background was finished so the kids could paint ocean inspired paintings.

I set out books about ocean creatures and the kids who were interested could read about them and then pick one to paint and label for our mural.

Here is our finished mural:

Here are a few other experiences going on in our room.  In our literacy area, I put out a couple new ways to practice sight words:

Here a partner hides the puff ball under a shell.  Their partner turns over a shell.  If the puff ball isn't there, they can leave it turned over if they can read the word.  Their partner can help them.  They keep turning over shells and reading the words until they find the puff ball. Then it is their turn to hide it.

The next one is for them to use the sight word rings, or get their data folders to practice words they haven't mastered yet by making them with play dough.

I switched out our colored clay with all white clay.  I was amazed at the difference in their sculptures!  I am not sure why, but without the colors, their sculptures have become amazing!  I can't believe the detail they are adding to their sculptures.  They are more focussed here also. They will work for days on creating clay stories here and then write them down for story workshop.  I did not see this focus and detail when they used different colors!

We have started clearing our garden to get it ready for planting after spring break!  They want to plant something we can eat and some flowers.  They are very excited to get started!

They are also noticing that gardening is very hard work but they love it!  They are pulling out weeds and making sure they get the roots as we talked about why we need to make sure none grow in our garden.  We have to really dig in to get the roots out!

That is all until our next inquiry!  I hope everyone has an amazing spring break!