While we continue to construct the coral for our classroom reef, we have also begun the planning phase for the next part of the reef we will construct: other animals that live in the reef. We decided we needed to a little more research with the kids about what types of animals live in reefs, so this week we are working with the kids one or two at a time to research reef animals, select one they are particularly interested in, and make a sketch in preparation for constructing that animal next week out of more durable materials, for use in the classroom reef.
The kids are using anatomical drawings of their selected animal as a reference to first draw the shapes, and then we are looking up photographs of the animal so that they can incorporate realistic colors and patterns. These steps ask them to combine their creative drawing skills with the challenge of replicating a real image and/or photograph, and it is interesting to watch them using these reference images with such intent - by this point in the year, the Purple Room kids have a strong understanding of how to translate information into product. We are also noticing math concepts in the way the animals look - some are highly symmetrical, some have patterns on their skin, and some have very particular amounts of arms and legs. The last step is labeling the sketch - making use of their developing writing and invented spelling skills.
Here are some of the sketches so far - we're going to have a highly populated reef!: