Loose Parts Playgrounds

In Term 2, six classed explored the question “What is a successful loose parts playground?”. A green shipping container had appeared in the playground and students were curious about why it had arrived.

green shipping container in playground

Each class watch a video called “Inside NYC’s Riskiest Playground Where Parents Aren’t Allowed Inside” to provoke their thinking about loose parts playgrounds.

page of see, think and wonder sharing

After watching they where challenged to list what they could see by close observation, state what they thought using evidence from their close observations and then create some questions to guide our research in answering the BIG question.

List of Learning Assets in toolkit

Our classes were adding to their learning toolkit during the term by discussing and developing their learning assets. There are 5 learning assets that our classes focus attention on throughout each learning day. In particular during our loose parts exploration we were being researchers. Kath Murdoch explains researchers as being curious, courageous and resourceful. Researchers create thick questions. They gather information from a variety of sources and think critically about it. They are also careful to acknowledge the sources of their information.

Title from book Thick or Thin Questions

Each class worked on creating some questions that would allow us to explore the idea of a loose parts playground and what would be needed to make it successful. We soon extended our original question to another question as we were all curious to find out what the benefits of a loose parts playground might be.

Classes watched videos, read snippets from web articles and PDF documents, looked closely at photographs and collated data about what would be most useful in a loose parts play area. They were challenged to think about risk and safety.

We used Book Creator as a place to share our thoughts. This gave each class the opportunity to collaborate online and practice being sensible digital citizens especially when 24 students were all working on the same book at the same time. Our character strengths of honesty, teamwork, curiousity, creativity, love of learning, perseverance and perspective help us online as well.

Loose Parts research book cover

After presenting our research in Book Creator we then had a chance to spend time in exploring the contents of our shipping container as a class and also with our buddy class. We found cardboard boxes, rope, foam shapes, pvc pipes and milk crates all very useful. Some of us created musical instruments, others worked together to make zip lines and there were cars, boats, shops and restaurants.

small loose parts being put together into a structure

Some classes also had the opportunity to explore scaled down loose parts play. Straws became pipes, string became rope, fabric squares became tarps and there where sticks of different shapes and sizes. One of the big restrictions was that all joining of items needed to be non-permanent so that all objects could be re-used. The instruction was “Create something with loose parts…..”

Our loose parts play area is now open at every recess lunch for all of our school to explore and invent new ideas each day.

What do you think makes a loose parts play area successful? Which items would you collect to add to our shipping container? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

More Week of Taste

Last Thursday in 4/5 we had a chef, Stuart Rees, come to our classroom. He talked about places that he has been. When he was little he wanted to be an archaeologist. He used to go to his Grandma’s and watch her cook and he used to read his Mum’s cooking magazines. His Mum told a chef that he liked to cook and he had some work experience in the kitchen where he washed dishes and mopped floors and he didn’t like that very much because he wanted to cook.

He used to make banana cake and he gave each of us a little cake each. Banana cake was the first thing he ever learnt to cook. He never followed the recipe because he just did it his own way. He gave us a copy of his recipe for banana cake.

bananas Eric.Ray via Compfight

When he was 16 he entered a cooking competition and he had no idea of what he would cook. In the end he made pate and he came second. He still has his cup that he won.

There was poster at his work and it was advertising a trip to China to help teach kids to cook Australian food. He went to China for 4 months and he taught Chinese children to cook and this was hard because he didn’t speak Chinese and the interpreter sometimes made mistakes.

His favourite dish that he invented was with an oyster and a raw prawn wrapped pastry and cooked. He loved it but some of his work colleagues were not so sure.

Written by Kate and Alira

What is your favourite dish? Have you cooked banana cake? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Week of Tastes

Last Thursday in 3-4 Blue and Yellow we a chef, Massimo Mele, come in to our classroom. He came to show us how he makes a pizza called a calzone and tell us how he became a chef. He told us about becoming a chef.

cooking calzones

He started cooking at the age of 10 and then he was interested becoming a water policeman but instead he became a painter and a builder before he was a chef.

His Mum and Dad used to own a restaurant and it served Italian food. His whole family worked at the restaurant to help. His first ever meal he made was a fish curry.

He had his own restaurant in Sydney but he has now moved back to Tasmania. In Launceston he now has a new restaurant called The Grain.

To make our pizza we had to flatten our pizza dough and then we put cheese, ham, zucchini and parsley on top of the dough. We folded it in half – like a taco – and then it was deep fried in vegetable oil.

calzone ready to cook

It tasted like a pizza but also kind of like a bun. They puffed up when they were put in the hot oil. They had a crunchy outside. People thought they looked like tacos, burritos and potatoes. Written by Olyvia & Amelia

cooked calzone

Have you ever made calzone? Do you like pizza? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Continuing our Playground Inquiry….

After adding all of our dots to our satellite image the classes worked with a partner and in whole groups to come up with some survey questions that would give us some more information about our needs in our playground. Mrs S collated these and looked for the commonalities between each class to create an online survey for all the classes to complete.

Survey title and number of responses

During the time each class spends with Mrs S and their class teacher students completed the survey. It was very interesting to see the results automatically update as each student submitted their answers. Our classes all saw how efficient it was to use an online survey tool that collated the results as they were entered and created graphs of the data.

The survey data added more information about where students like to play and also what they like to do outside.

graph of favourite places

We found out that our oval is the most popular play area and the second most popular spot is our netball courts. There are quite a number of students who would still like to be able to play in the junior playground. Some of these students like the sheltered areas that are there and other would like to play with brothers and sisters.

After talking about our results it was time for each group to try and identify some playground problems. Mrs S and our teachers reminded us that we were searching for solvable problems. We found that some problems were people problems, others were space problems, some were safety problems and some were more to do with dreaming of changes we could make to our outside play area.

After working with all 6 classes Mrs S was able to come up with a list of eight ideas. Each class narrowed this down to two and are now focused on imagining clever solutions.

Possible problems
Here is the list of possible problems that our 6 classes are now working on.

We will be trying to persuade others about our ideas by creating a presentation that describes the solution we have imagined for each problem.

Which problem would you choose? How would you solve it? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Working with the Design Process

This year our classes have been exploring the design process. Architects, engineers, scientists and students can use the design process to help solve problems. These problems may be small, big, imaginary or real and in each case the design process helps break down the problem into smaller steps.

image of the design process - ask, imagine, plan, create, improve, share

Students had two challenges to complete and learned more about the steps in the design process as they completed these challenges.

Challenge one used only one building material and asked students to design a safe but tall structure for a little plastic bear to be able to see better in the classroom. We named all the bears – Harry.

In our second challenge there were more materials to choose from and the challenge had changed slightly. Harry still needed a safe, tall tower but there also needed to be a way of going up and down. The size of the groups building together also were larger.

Can you see the extra materials we had? Can you see some ways of getting up and down? Please leave a comment to tell us what you can see.

Creating with Our ICT Buddies

Some of the classes have been working hard with their buddies. They have been app smashing to create an online book all about the friends of ten. They used ArtRage to receive a tracing image via Airdrop. They took a screenshot and cropped it after they had finished working with the image in ArtRage. They Airdropped the image back and Mrs S created a book in Book Creator. They received the book via Airdrop and added the text to the pages.

We use the Friends of Ten maths strategy to help us when we are working with numbers. We might be combining numbers together. We might be finding out how much more to get to 10 or 20 or even more.

Knowing our Friends of Ten can help us with some other maths strategies. We can Think 10 or Make 10 and add what is left. We can think 1 more than 10 or 1 less than 10 to help us add numbers together.

How would you use the Friends of Ten to help you solve a maths problem? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Tassie Devil Monster Truck

On the 16th of November we had a very special visit from Tassie Devil Monster Truck . Everyone enjoyed it.

Two students created digital posters about the visit.

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Troy talked to the whole school about how Monster Trucks work and about the way that they were put together. He also told us how they are shipped to Australia from America. They are now all built the same size. The tyres were huge – $9000 per tyre. That is WOW!

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Have you ever seen the Monster Trucks? Would you like to drive one? Please leave a comment to tell us your thoughts.

By Eloise.

Creating Digital Posters

During Mrs S time in our classrooms we have been working with our buddies to create digital posters. We have a task sheet to help guide us through the steps we need to follow. We are learning to use the iPad cameras and the photo editing tools to crop our photos before putting them into a collage. We are using Pic Kids to create our collages.

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One of the choices we need to make is about the layout of our poster.

Will we use the grids offered in the app to place our pictures on the page or just go with freestyle?

Will our pictures look better overlapped or slightly sloped?

What makes a good background to show off our work?

These questions are things that we talk about with our buddies as we create our posters.

What is your favourite colour? What photos would you take to represent your favourite colour? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Prep F Needs for Living Things

Prep F have looked at the needs of living things, for example; a fish needs water to live, a dog needs food to live and so on. One of the things they did for this unit was making a mind map about the sort of things animals need to live. Some of them started with a picture of a cat then drew lines coming out of it pointing to the things it needs, they looked like this.

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Prep F also made box houses, in this activity they put things inside their box that you would normally have in a house to care for your pets.

This could include things like animal beds, boxes, play houses, cages, kennels, animal food and heaps more.

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All the creations of Prep F looked great and everyone enjoyed making them too.

Do you have a favourite animal, if so why?

Written by Anna and Eloise

Numeracy Week

In our school we all have the chance to participate in lots of activities. Numeracy week is one of the most recent events. This activity included classes prep to grade two. All the classes had fun joining in with some learning activities. The classes all also participated in a Number Trail afternoon, which is looking around the Early Childhood buildings in search of numbers, whether they are stuck onto doors or under the bench, all of the numbers were found. There were lots of different activities to do during the week. It looked like everyone that was involved in this amazing week had a great time. But this week couldn’t of been as good as it was without everyone that helped make this event as amazing as it turned out to be so thankyou to everyone involved.

What did you do for Numeracy Week?

do you like numeracy?

Written By Anna and Eloise