Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Emergent Curriculum in Progress: Building Rocket Ships

 Last week we had a great example of how emergent curriculum works. One morning, while I observed some of the children building in the block area, one of the boys said, "Miss Bridget, look. I made a rocket ship!"
 I asked him where his rocket ship was going and he told me it was going to space. As we talked about the rocket, I explained how there is a countdown before a rocket blasts off. We counted down from ten while several children, who had also built rockets, blasted their blocks into space. After a few minutes of this, I pulled out the iPad and found this video of a real rocket launch.  Of course all of the children gathered around as soon as they realized that the iPad was out. They loved the launch, so we watched it several times. 

Later, at circle time, I asked the children some questions about space ships and space travel in order to get an idea of what they already knew and what we could learn. I asked where the rocket went, who was in it, and what is in space.

The children answered that the rocket goes to space and has astronauts in it. They also knew that stars, planets, and the moon are in space. But when I asked what the astronauts would do in space, they were stumped. Several children suggested that the astronauts would visit relatives. One little boy said, "They will come here, to our school!" Of course everyone liked that idea until I pointed out that our school was not in space. I pulled up some pictures of astronauts on the moon and we talked a little bit about what they were doing up there. 

Now the whole class is very interested in anything having to do with space. I scratched the craft I had been planning to do that day and we made rockets out of paper towel rolls instead. For the rockets, I cut the paper towel rolls in half and gave one half to each child. Then I set out paint and brushes and let them paint their rockets however they liked. 
Once they were dry, I cut three triangles out of construction paper for each rocket. I cut a slit in each triangle...
and three slits around the bottom of each rocket.  
 Then I fitted the triangles into the slits on the rocket. 
The children stuffed red and yellow tissue paper "fire" into the bottoms of their rockets and they were ready for blast off!
 I am excited to see where this exploration of space and space travel will take us over the next couple of weeks. 

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