Now that we have returned from spring break, we are moving into the final phase of our sea life investigation and coral reef study. For this investigation, we will be building a classroom reef that will be available for use in the block area!
Often, our investigations culminate in a large scale construction project. Our intention for these construction projects is for the children to synthesize the knowledge they have learned over the course of the investigation into a collaborative representation of that knowledge. In our coral reef study, we have learned the names of many varieties of coral, how they eat and reproduce, and where they live and what they live amongst. All of this knowledge will be important as we build coral, plants, and the other animals that live in the reef. The project will call on the children to not only remember the information, but apply it across a variety of mediums - from drawing in planning phases to selecting materials that accurately represent the real life coral. We also try to create structures that the children can interact with in dramatic play scenarios as a way to further extend their learning, hence our plan to use the reef in the block area.
This week we began constructing the "tall" corals - branch, sea fan, and tube. To create steady bases, we poured plaster into cans and planted cardboard tubes inside. Tomorrow, you will read about how we used other materials to realistically decorate the coral. Here are some photos of the plaster phase: