What Does It Mean to Wonder?

“Great art starts with just a scribble”
~ Diane Albee

“Science and art belong to the whole world”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My job is not to teach the standards. Instead, it’s to break the standards apart, discover what’s interesting about them to my students, and then create learning experiences to bridge both. In this way, I asked the Young STEAM Inventors, “What does it mean to wonder about something?” They told me that “wonder” happens when there is curiosity and deep thought about a topic. Wonder simply happens when you want to know. I then asked them, “What do you do when you want to learn more about what you are wondering”. They gave me a variety of answers, including conducting research through Google and book reading, and testing ideas out.
For this post, I wish to share their “wonderings”.

PreK and Kindergarten WONDERINGS

Our focus in science has shifted towards a study of author Diane Alber. Her books serve as inspiration for us to create science and art drawings. We explored her first book, Dots, and created beautiful pieces art with shapes and color. Last week, we read her second book, Splatter, and talked about color mixing, artists tools, and that scientists can be artists, too. This week we will explore her last two books, I’m Not Just A Scribble and Snippets: A Story About Paper Shapes.


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Maze Mania and Snails

We wrapped up our study of snails with snail races and constructions before the Thanksgiving break. We explored questions about land-snails and tested out our theories. One exploratory question that was posed asked “How do we get the land-snails to move?” This is what students had to say about it (do feel free to compare and contrast their observations!):

One class —
“We tried singing ‘Stone Soup,’ but that didn’t work. We tried clapping, and the baby snail popped out of its shell and started to move towards the lettuce, carrots and tomatoes. The big Mommy snail started moving when we started building her a house out of cardboard and dipped her into the water. The last snail never woke up until we broke a carrot and put it near it. Then, we spread a lot of water on it. Snails can’t hear, but they are good at smelling food. We tried blowing our breath on the last two snails, but they were too tired to move. Sometimes, when we opened the little habitat, the snails would wake up and leave the little habitat and crawl into the big habitat. When we built a cardboard house with tubes, one of the snails crawled inside the tube and fell asleep. We think that was funny. That’s all we have to say.”

Another class —
“We sang ‘Stone Soup’ to the snails. When we clapped, the baby snail came out of its shell. We sprayed water on the dad snail, and he woke up. The mom didn’t wake up when the baby snail climbed on top of her. We decided to put carrots next to them to see if they could smell the food and will come out of their shell. The mom came out and the Dad started moving and eating the carrot. The mom picked up the carrot piece and started stretching her body to climb on top. The baby snail is thirsty and drinking the water. So, maybe she is thirsty.”


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A curiosity in mazes also took place this week with the preschool and kindergarten students. Students are constructing mazes using different materials- cardboard, plastic cups, and wooden planks. They’re attempting to create a maze for the land snails in out habitat. Students also started drawing their own mazes as well. Preschool students said:

“When you build a maze, you have to concentrate, then you learn. You have to make mistakes too. You have to make sure you can get out of a maze too. We can build a big maze and then let the snails try to get out of it. We have to make sure it’s stable so it doesn’t fall and hurt the snails. I wonder if we can do it.”

Another student responded:
“With teamwork, we can do anything.”


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Who and What is a Botanist?
Grade 1 students are observing and collecting information about the life cycle of a plant that they planted two weeks ago. They are specifically exploring germination, the process of a plant sprouting from its seed. We read the story “Guacamole,” which guided us from the avocado seed to the plant, and then on to the table to be eaten with chips and with families.


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We also read the book, Down in the Garden with Dr. Carver. This book is about Dr. George Washington Carver, the esteemed African-American botanist, college professor, and artist. This week, students are recording the changes of the plants, finishing up their “Seed” poem, the Lifecycle of A Plant book, and their other classroom folder work. Over the next few weeks, we will examine pillbugs and sowbugs to wrap up our organisms unit of study.

I will continue to keep you posted about our WONDERINGS.

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