Thursday, April 10, 2008

Of Scorpions and Other Unplanned Projects

In case anyone gets the idea that we run an organized preschool in this home, let me tell you a story that illustrates how our lesson plans are really designed.

Some months ago we went to a fast-food restaurant on a Saturday afternoon. The food was mediocre, but the accompanying toy (pictured at left) became one of Agent 002's favorites.

Then winter came and the toy was locked out in "cold storage" for the season. The little boy promptly forgot all about his favorite robot scorpion.

Boy and scorpion had a sweet reunion, however, when the three-season porch was reopened for the season. We heard shrieks of "little pooch baby scorpion" as Agent 002 held the plastic creature up to his face to kiss it.

Moments later, the questions began. Does it bite? Sting? Would it make me dead? Can I run faster than a scorpion? What does it eat?

I answered as many of the questions as I could, and then honestly answered that I had no idea about the rest. I suggested that we look up some information.

We started by reading the Wikipedia entry, then hit Google Images for some visuals. By this point, Agent 004 and Cousin F were also huddled around the laptop looking at the pictures.

Once the troops showed signs of restlessness, we headed into the red room to create something with our new-found knowledge. Agent 002 built his own model of a "death stalker" scorpion with minimal assistance. He used an egg carton for the body, twirled wire for the tail, wire threaded through the carton for legs, and construction paper for the pincers. Obviously he also included his trademark smile (just like his fish).

While he worked on the model, I asked him to recount everything he learned. I transcribed the information onto a Powerpoint slide along with some of the images we found online. An instantaneous entry for our animal notebook:

For something completely spontaneous it was quite a thorough lesson. We did some reading, writing, research, geography, creative art, and even a bit of math (figuring out how many wires we would need to make the right number of legs, given that each wire makes two legs).

And so passed an entire morning at casa warillever. Lots of learning, lots of creativity, and a whole lot of fun. Now if only you would believe that every morning went like this....


Kate in NJ said...

Very cool..scorpions still freak me out.

Rockin' Moroccan Mama said...

That is what I love about schooling with mom. THis is what I tell myself when I feel we are not following a certain boxed curriculum. Thanks for sharing.

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

This is what I want our days to be like!!! What a great day you guys had!!!

Thank you so much for joining in on my birthday carnival! :) This was fun and such a hope for our future homeschooling days!