Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A look inside an Exploration Block

Several times a year, the lower elementary classes, have "Exploration Blocks" or EBs.  These 6 session classes explore a wide variety of topics.  Kindergarteners, first and second graders, choose from 4 unique courses.  The EBs are a precursor to the lengthier Electives when they are in 3rd through 8th graders.  The goals for EBs are to allow teachers and students time to delve into topics they are interested in, as well as getting to work with a new mixture of children.

This Fall the Exploration Block mini courses included: "Preserving History – Methods of Keeping Food in Colonial Times", "Engineering Challenges", "M is for MOVEMENT", and "Picture This".

In Exploration Blocks, children explore one topic in depth. They use a variety of means such as: books, crafts, history, science, and the arts, to gain understanding of the subject.

To shed light on how one EB was organized to meet this end, here is a look into the recent EB, "M is for Movement".

In the "M is for Movement", the children explored various ways things move. A large part of the EB was exploring ways they can move their bodies.  They went to County Farm park to try their skills on a section of the fitness trail.  They practiced their balancing skills to the song "Bean Bag Boogie", and they created obstacle courses.  In the story Move! by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, the class learned about how a variety of animals move.  The class also made toys that have entertained children over the centuries, including whirligigs, puddle jumpers, and tops. One thing the children learned was that some of these toys did not meet their standards of a "fun" toy.  In the last session the children learned about "art in motion" as they tried their hands at creating mobiles.

Below are some of the photographs of the "M is for Movement" class.

The children made streamers...

to fly around and dance with.

Using a puddle jumper took
concentration and patience.
A trip to County Farm Parks...

Fitness Trail...

tested strength and agility.
After making drawings of 

obstacle coarse, they went to the
playground to create real ones.

The children played with the idea of
spinning things as they made whirligigs
and tops.

With a few doles, clothes pins,

some tissue paper and pipe cleaners,

the children created mobiles.

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