The Learning Journey
At the playground, some children were around the big tree beside the fence. One child say they were looking for inch worms. One of the children had a small inchworm in her hands. She showed her inchworm to everyone and the children around her looked at the inchworm moving on her hand. After looking for some time, the children wanted to have a worm of their own and started searching for them. They stood on benches, reached up to big branches on the tree and looked at the leaves to see if there were worms there.
"I found leaves with holes! It means the inchworms are here." "No, they might have left already!" Nanum can you get me that branch? "Why do you need this one?" "I need this because it has lots of leaves."
"Did you get a caterpillar?" "Where did you find it? Can you find me one? "This is an inchworm because it is squirming and caterpillars don't." "Can I touch them? It feels weird!"
The children put the inchworm in their hands, touched them, and observed at how they move. Some of the children put rocks, small branches, leaves and flowers on top of the playground equipment. "I made a habitat for the inchworms. Put them in here."
The children played the inchworm inside of their habitat creation. After looking at the inchworm for a few minutes, the children left and played at the playground. Two of the children came to check on their inchworms several times during the afternoon.
The next day, the teachers brought a bug catcher outside with the children. One of the children put leaves, flowers, and grass from the ground indie of the catcher. They then found an inchworm and a baby caterpillar and put them both in the catcher. The children then started having conversations around this. "We need more leaves for them because they need to eat." I can get some different leaves, but is there a hole for them so they can breath?" "Yes, there is a lot on the top of the catcher." Where is he?" "He is still there, under the leaf." "Oh, he is on the wall and he is going to escape!"
The interest of inchworms slowly began to shift when two boys came over and were curious about what the jars and moss were for. They walked over to the naturalization area and began crawling on the ground looking for ants. When they found them they used their fingers to pick the ants up in between their fingers and put them in the jar. More children came over to see what the two boys were doing and grabbed more jars. They all began working together to collect as many ants as possible. Once there was about 50 ants in the jar, they began realizing the different types and sizes of ants they found. There were big queen ants, small black ants and red ants. They began noticing that when they stuck all three types of ants inside the same jar, they would fight each other. "So, what happens is when we stick the big ants inside with the tiny ones, they try to eat them because they want to show the tiny ones who is boss and the red ants are meaner than the tiny black ants. So, basically, the small black ants are the weakest ones around." after noticing how the different types of ants reacted to one another they decided it would be a great idea to search for different bugs such as spiders, flies and inchworms and whatever else they could find to see who would win.
- How children interacted with materials? From setting out the provocation, we noticed that there were only a few children left that had an interest for the inchworms. We saw the transformation of an interest change from only inchworms into bugs in general. It shifted into an interest of observing which bugs are stronger and more dominant than the other bugs. They began making the jars into, "survival of the fittest" jars and observing and deciding on what bugs they should collect the most. The boys began making each bug on their strengths and deciding which one is the "king of bugs"
- How we as Educators, interacted with children in this play? Through this process we asked many open ended questions to provoke the children's thinking and extend knowledge. For example, "why are certain bugs more dominant than others?" Do they have any way to defend themselves?" What happens next?" and "What happens when they beat all the other bugs?" "What do you think could beat the most powerful bug so far?" Open ended questions are important in the process of our reflection and gaining knowledge of what is actually happening in this discovery an play with the bugs. "Reflective statements and questions along with the goal descriptors, may provoke further thinking" (Makovichuk, Hewes, Lirette, & Thomas, 2014, p.23).
- How was the role of the educator reflected in this learning journey?
"Understanding the image of the child as a citizen and as a strong, resourceful and capable learner shifts the intention of our interactions from doing to a child toward participating with a child. (Makovichuk, Hewes, Lirette, & Thomas, 2014, pg.40). During this learning journey, our educators joined children's play as a co-learner to understand their play. As we view children as might learners, we listened to them and focused on what they can do instead of giving directors or delivering knowledge. While being alongside of them, children showed their capabilities again and it gave them opportunities to express what they discovered to us.