Our students have been participating in a “Pets” inquiry study over the past several weeks. We began this Pet Project by having our preschoolers brainstorm a web of knowledge about the things they already knew about pets. Our next step was having the preschoolers formulate questions regarding the things they would like to find out about pets. We found in this process that they are very good at sharing stories but it was a bit more of a challenge for them to formulate a question. To help with this process, we began using the phrase, “I wonder….” to help them come up with a question. We then invited vet technicians to come to preschool to help answer their questions and to tell us about their jobs.
Next, we wanted to get families involved! We asked them to send a photo of their family pet (or a favorite pet of a close relative or friend.) We used the photographs to mathematically chart and graph the various types of pets we have at home—we had quite a variety! A few families also brought their pets to school for a visit!
In our classroom environment, we provided many non-fiction books, our dramatic play area was transformed into a Pet Clinic, clipboards were available so that the students could conduct surveys with their peers (“Do you have a dog/cat?”), and various art mediums were available for the kids to construct representations of animals. This week, we are beginning a “construction phase” in our Pet Clinic, as our students are working to build an X-ray machine. It is really neat to see what ideas our students have as they work together to build this machine.
It is rewarding to observe the students become active and engaged learners in the classroom—building new skills and knowledge through authentic and hands-on experiences. We look forward to seeing where our interests lead us next!