Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Building Inquiry

“A construction site at our school!”

We went outside to play in our playground one day and… there was a fence surrounding the playground that said “construction zone”.

Curious Children

The children were very curious about this fence and what was going to happen to their playground. Later that day the children got to meet the construction workers who shared with the children that they would be doing some work to the playground.

The Blueprint

One of the construction workers, Bob was holding a large roll. The children asked Bob what he had. He told them that he had the blueprint for the new playground area. Bob unrolled the blueprint to share with the students. Seeing a real blueprint was so exciting and became the provocation for a new inquiry.

Observing a Real Blueprint

Bob, kindly allowed our class to bring their blueprint into our classroom for a closer look. The children observed the blueprint making observations and asking many questions.

L.C.: What are those circles?
T.K: Is that supposed to be a swimming pool?
A.L: What are those numbers for?
M.Y: There are so many numbers!

A Conversation about Blueprints

Following the student’s close observation of the 

blueprint, we had a class discussion about 


Ms. P: What is a blueprint?

S.M: Kind of like you print something in blue.

C.Z: Paper is called a blueprint.

S: paper to make the park bigger.

A.L: Print a picture and it’s blue and it tells you what to do.

S.M: I think it’s like instructions.

Ms. P: what are instructions?

S.M: It means they have a plan for something.

Ms. P: Why do you think the builders 
have a plan before they begin building?

S: To see what they are building.

A.L: Because if they don’t have a plan they are 
not going to know what to build.

T.K: I think at the block center we should make a 
plan so we know what to build.

Ms. P: What a fabulous Idea! We are going to leave 
clipboards with paper for boys and girls to makes plans before building at the block center. 

Questions for provocation:

During our outdoor exploration, the 
children observed the construction workers busy at work.

Ms. P: What do you see?

S.M: They are putting new sand, that truck will move it with its wheels and then we will play.
C.Z: The truck is making a big hole for the pool.
A.R: They are digging and digging for a treasure.
S.T: The truck is digging and the sand is going down, down.
E.L: We see building stuff.
T.K: They are building a park with basketball nets and sand is in a pile. They are building together and working together.
S: They are building and digging the sand and digging to put new sand to play.
A.L: They are going to build that thing that puts the ball and make the sand more bigger so the children will have fun and that’s all.
C.Z: I see dandelions and flowers and feathers.

Everyday when we walk by we see they are digging the dirt.

Where is the dirt going?

E.L: put it in the truck.
E.C: In the garbage can.
S: They are turning all the sand in the truck and putting it for a new house to build.
A.R: they are going to put it in a different truck and put it in a new playground. 

Making a Plan

While engaged in inquiry-based learning at the block center, a few of the children created plans for their structures.

A.L: If we put all the blueprints together like a puzzle then we will know what we are building. Shaheem and me and the other guys are working together and we are the bosses. But I carry the blue prints.

S: Step back it’s dangerous here. You need a construction hat.

T.K: It’s not dangerous for me, I work here.

S: It’s no safe that’s why there is a fence. 

Some of the children used the blueprints and classroom blocks to show their representation of what our new park will look like.

We also continued this inquiry in partnership with our Teacher Librarian, Ms. Cosgrove. We will post more from this inquiry soon!

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