The Discovery Area is a space that encourages children to ask scientific questions about the world around them. It is these wonder questions that enable children to develop theories and come to conclusions based on their own explorations and investigations. On the first day of school, I placed a provocation (intentional placing of materials without showing/telling children how to engage in order to allow for self directed exploration) about birds which included nests, feathers, and books hoping it would act as a motivator and entice them to ask questions, eventually leading to further investigations about birds.
After a few days, only a few students explored the materials. Though they seemed engaged, I didn't notice a strong motivation from those children in wanting to investigate their wonders further. But this is the beauty of emergent curriculum, which is following the children's interests authentically, where they take ownership of their learning.
During a group discussion a strong spark ignited! I wanted to get a sense from the children if they were at all interested in learning about birds or if we needed to find new discoveries. So I asked them if they had any wonder questions about birds that they wanted to explore? That's when our discussion became very interesting.
M. O. responded with the fact, "Birds have wings and feathers."
"what about bats? They have wings and fly?" F. D.
"I think bats have black skin." M. O.
"Because they're (bats) black, they live in caves because caves are black!" D. C.
"The claws make the bats have grips to go upside down."
"Bats sleep upside down, that's why they have claws. Bats like to sleep upside down." W. E.
"How do you know this W?" Mrs. Ralph
"I thinked about it in my mind." W. E.
"Bats hang upside down because they need a rest." E. E.
"They hang in a cave. My mom told me." O. M.
"I think bats live in Gotham City because Batman has the word bat in his name." W. E.
"I watched a bat movie and it was scary because it was a lot of caves and it was 3-D and it felt like I was in it." P. I.
"Why were you scared? Mrs. Ralph
"Because it was dark and the bats were handing upside down." P. I.
"I saw a real bat once at my cousin's house. It had fur and it was eating fruit." L. B.
"When did you see it?" Mrs. Ralph
"It was in the night time." L. B.
The children had so many things to say about bats and they were so excited and passionate about their knowledge. Bats are different than birds. The big idea that was evident in their discussion.
Creating bats out of plasticine.
Using post it notes to mark important facts about bats!
Drawing our bat!
Telling me about what vampire bats eat!
Watching a National Geographic short video about bats!
Creating our Bat and Bird Wonders chart.
I cannot say right now where the bat interest will lead, or if it will become an inquiry. It may be that we bounce back to birds or end up investigating many aspects of both, depending on the interest group of students that form.
I wonder where this will lead us? Stay tuned!