So early in the year this class became VERY interested in maps and that led to an inquiry about the St. Louis ARCH. It was a fun inquiry and one that many could relate to since the Arch is not too far away and many of my students have had the chance to visit it. As the excitement about the Arch died down we moved on to the regular day to day activities in our literacy and math centers. Smaller inquiries started to form. Some were about dinosaurs and a small study about the moon and space. However, I did not expect BEAVERS of all things to be our next topic of interest.
I am not a fan of rodents.
So when it was apparent that we may be studying Beavers I myself was not too excited. However, this interest all began with yet another ARCH structure being built in our block area. Even though that project ended around Christmas my kiddos still enjoy building the Arch. On one particular day the Arch structure turned into something else.
I asked the group to describe this structure to me and they did so by writing about it.
"We are holing the water (back) on the structure." So they built a dam. This was one of those block structures that they entire class became excited about....even if they didn't participate in the building of it. You know we've all had those structures in our classrooms! So the next morning I tried to build upon this during our morning message.
I really thought the project would take off as a study of "dams." This class not only has shown an interest in the Arch this year, but the Eiffel Tower and all sorts of bridges. So I thought a study of "dams" would be logical. I wasn't sure if they would become interested in man made dams or beaver dams so we began to read and discuss both.
As the discussions began in was clear that their interest was leaning more to learning about Beavers...so a Beaver Inquiry began! Below are some of the writing, building and art projects that occurred over the course of about a month. Although I'm still not a "rodent" fan I do have to say I have a new appreciation for beavers!
One of the beaver facts the kids clued in to was that beavers build a dam and then build their lodge which they get to by underwater tunnels. Below you can see their representations of this.
Who knew there were so many books written about beavers! Below you can see some of their favorite beaver facts.
"I like beavers because they have fur and their fur is soft. "
"Beavers can make dams for them. Beavers live in the pond. They slap their tails (when their is danger.) Beavers have caves."
Noodle collages was another fun way the kids could show their representations of beaver dams and lodges!