One of my earliest and most vivid memories is of puttering around my preschool’s trays of outdoor loose parts. I can still smell the paste and egg cartons; I can feel the fistfuls of pebbles; I can recall the sense of pride at my creations. Making is something that resonates with me right down to my core, and I love that maker mindsets and makerspaces continue to gain traction in schools today.
If you’re looking for a good way to introduce your makerspace this year, why not begin with a provocation to get students wondering?
With as much wonder as a new city provides, you can bet that an inquiry into the concept of cities would lead into a rich discussion about culture, change, growth, community, and more. Check out these resources for a broad concept-based provocation to stir up your students’ thinking!
When zoomed in close to the content of our required curricula, an inquiry into music may seem like the least relevant provocation for the typical busy classroom (unless, of course, you’re doing a unit on music). But, as always when it comes to inquiry, when we zoom out and identify the broader, over-arching concepts of our units, we find common ground that will makes our that content more rich, relevant, and memorable.
I am a huge sucker for time-lapse. It’s a mesmerizing phenomenon that by speeding up time, we get to feel like we’re slowing down. This is especially enjoyable when it comes to nature, which is why two of the four resources in this week’s inquiry include time-lapse videos.
The concept connections here include pattern, design, geometry, seasons, etc. Time lapse also lend themselves well to the PYP Transdiciplinary unit of “Where We Are in Place & Time.” But the exciting part about provocations is that we have no idea in which direction this might spark our students’ curiosity.
We stick so closely to the known facts and conventions all in the name of preparation (whether for testing or for becoming grown-ups in general) that I wonder if we sometimes limit our own capacity to push what might be possible in the future…
Resource #1: How to Unboil an Egg, by Ted Ed
Years ago, to help my students better understand the difference between physical and chemical change, I created a Prezi that included frying eggs as a clear irreversible change because it is a chemical change. But in the video below, the word “yet” simply radiates the pioneering spirit that has brought and continues to bring most scientific advances to the world.
Resource #2: Balderdash!: John Newbery & the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books.
This picture book will take you and your students back to a time when the accepted custom was for children only to read books of rules, study, or religion — until John Newbery changed all that.
What does it mean to be a pioneer?
How does pioneering differ across different subjects (science, history, etc.). How is it the same?
What is our responsibility to ask questions?
Why might some worry about questioning the way things are already done?
As I sat wondering what to do with all the plastic Easter eggs from last month (and what becomes of the surely millions of eggs sold every year), the idea for this provocation was hatched… (pun intended!).
The notion of home elicits powerfully personal responses from us all. So what do our students gain when we help them inquire into what that means for more than just themselves?
This week’s provocation can be easily applied for the IB PYP “Who We Are” unit of inquiry (see more provocations for units of inquiry here), but it can also apply to other units involving geography, economics, humanities, adaptation, and change.