How to make School Rock!

When I was in London for a workshop, one of the trainers passionately spoke about this project she heard about some time ago. It was designed and implemented by a team of unconventional educators in Belgium and it seems to have been a great success in the country.

They decided to go to schools around Belgium and have one week of school built around the theme of rocks!

They first tried it on a class where, Monday morning they brought in class and placed on the teacher's desk a large impressive collection of rocks of all types and sizes. The children gathered around them, and explored them curiously. Some of them were not really interested, but some of them began touching and moving them. They were curious of how they tasted or what sounds they make when bashed against each other. Shortly after they began to classify them in groups of different sizes and colors.

The second day, children found around the rocks various books on rocks and minerals. While some children were quite uninterested, others began to explore by themselves and identify each type of rock and understand their formation. They shared the information in class and at home.

The sudden apparition of rocks made a lot of buzz in the lives of those children. They began to be more curious and so the question "What can we do with all these rocks?" quickly appeared into their minds. They started to make patterns out of them, to build towers, to build bunkers, alleys and even portraits.

The following days, different types of weighting scales were found around the classroom. Children began to use them and see how much different rocks weighted. They compared the weights of similar sized rocks and used several scales to weight single rocks. Some children began recording the results. One child was wondering how many feathers would take to equalize the weight of the smallest rock. The teacher brought feathers so the children happily followed up on the idea.

The last days of the project, instead of scales, the children found paint and brushes. They took on to painting the rocks. Some of them painted two or three, but others spent their whole day painting one after another. Lots of creative patterns emerged, inspired by nature or their day to day lives.

And so after one week of fun and exploration, practical and theoretical learning, they ended their Rock Project. They learned about the types of rocks and their formation. About concepts such as weight, mass or gravity; they found out about different types of scales and how to use them. They read. They learned where and how to search for information. They followed up on their interests and curiosities. They worked individually or in groups, spontaneously, without adult intervention. Like real scientists they began to record their results. They expressed themselves in a creative manner with quite inexpensive materials. I also liked the fact that the adults guided them sensitively and only thought of what materials to introduce and when. They did not come with a preset agenda for the children, but rather responded to their interests. I think that made learning more powerful.

There is a large number of creative activities that can be done on this theme to cover all areas of development. I really like how the children in D Y Patil International School in Belgium used one of Belgium's most plentiful resources - chocolate :) - to recognize and create sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks! You can find the pictures from their science experiment here. Another resource you might find useful if you would like to take on such a project is this website, which contains lots of useful information and pictures on rocks, minerals and fossils!

Thank you for reading and either you are a teacher, parent or an education enthusiast, good luck with creating the most exciting, stimulating learning environments!

Sources of pictures:


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading this post! Please make sure your comment enriches everyone's learning!