How Does a Project Start?- Talking about the weather with kindergardeners

At circle, the Teachers asked the kindergarten children if there was a better way to gather data on the weather- their chart only had a few options and wasn't very satisfying. In asking the children to think about new ways to keep track of the weather, three intriguing ideas/questions came up- they are marked in this color. Now, three small groups are thinking further about these ideas.
Here are some snippets of conversation;
Mary T. (showing picture taken that morning): Today we noticed that it was foggy and sunny and cloudy and cold!
Alexander: "The sun was trying to break out of the clouds. The clouds didn’t want to let the sun through."
Max: "The sun is through the clouds but the fog makes it blurry. Darkish-lightish like a lantern."
Dante: “At my house it was frost, so that’s another kind. Evening is a difference, too.”
Juliette: "Well also it can be eight different kinds of weather at the same time. At that picture it’s also windy out."

Juliette: It’s sunny and warm out...
Xander: Who thinks it’s just sunny? 
Teacher: Xander, do you mean that sometimes it can be sunny and cold? 
Xander: Yes. 
Skylar: We can paint cardboard. 
Gisele: Cold, warm, sunny. Well it’s cold while it’s warm while it’s sunny. 
Max P: If you hang a piece of glass on the window and there’s a reflection on the wall or the floor then it’s sunny but if not then it’s not sunny. 
Skylar: You forgot to write summer (on the weather chart). 
Teacher: Is summer a type of weather? 
Skylar: Yes, no you have winter, summer, fall. 

Alexander: We can make our own weather chart outside and we could make a magic … and it just writes its own self.... School should have eyes and an arm to check the weather.
Anna: Raise your hand if you think the school, the building, always knows the weather because it’s outside. 
Dante, Hunter, Robbie, Ivey and Maddie raise their hands.
Hunter: I really think the school could have eyes. 

...another time
Robbie: It’s not fair for animals in winter cause the ground is frozen. 
Hailey: What if their fur was coats? 
Alexander: Animals can’t drink water in the Forest, they need to find clean, fresh water. I went on a walk with my dad and the water was really dirty. 
Ethan: We could build a square out of short logs, Pippin could cut them and build a square and put food and animals eat the food and water. 
Anna: That’s called a trough. 
Graeme: Animals can go to the bathroom. 
Ethan: We can build them bathrooms

I am working with the group that is hanging glass (we used colored plastic) in the windows to see if it's sunny or not. The group quickly moved from making "stained glass" window hangings to noticing colors in the room, to observing and hypothesizing about the reflections' movement.
here is a conversation;
Tyler. We can make rainbows with light and reflection!
Duke  It’s teaching us that it’s sunny when it shines through.
Max P: Yeah! Cause the carpet can’t shine a thing! 
Max H.  It’s teaching us how the sun moves and what’s the weather.
anna So how does the sun move?
Max H: (sounding very passionate) I have no idea! I can’t tell. All I know is because the earth moves. That’s all I know!
Max P:  Nuh-uh, the earth moves around the sun
Hunter: Every time, every minute or hour, the sun moves into different places
anna So this (tape that marks the location of the reflections) is kind of like a clock then. It’s kind of like your whole classroom is turning into a clock.
Hunter: No, it’s like the whole world is a clock because the sun goes around the whole world.
Max P.: Actually, actually that’s not really right. The Sun is in a orbit around earth. The sun’s moving around earth.
Tyler: actually the other planets are moving (garbled)
Duke: the sun goes around the whole earth
Max H: Can we go in there (the other room)? Cause I have an idea, that was going to work in there, but I’m going to tell you an idea first. Maybe we could, maybe we could go in there to see if the sun moves everywhere, every minute. Just like Hunter’s idea. If it moves every minute or every hour or it doesn’t move at all, only the tape is wrong.
Tyler:   Wait, only the planets move! The sun isn’t a planet.
Max P. We circle the sun, so every other planet is also around the sun.
Max H. We’re in the middle!
Wait! Wait! there’s more! Move back! Move back! Let’s observe here!  The boys count 60 seconds to see if a reflection moves in one minute.
Max P. It’s gonna take 90 hours for the sun to move.
Anna has it moved? Yeah! Yeah!
Anna  I think this room might be turning into a clock you guys.
Max H. Oo Oo I know! Look at the table.
Hunter Oh I know what we should do! Can we get a magnifying glass, and we can look and see if there are little pieces of that (reflection) coming off onto the ground! 

Max H. Guys! Guys! I think I found something! It’s like a little triangle made of light!It’s making kind of like a light rainbow There’s a rainbow inside of the reflection!
This is nothing about the sun, it’s about the magnifying glass!

Tyler Hey Max H., you have something on your head!
Max H. Look! Look! I wish I brought my own camera, I’d take pictures of it.
Tyler ‘Look!  Xander! Ok, guys. Is there a rainbow on me? (everybody tries putting different parts of their bodies under the reflections. 

Tyler I need to tell you what my idea is. I’m really smart, and this is a good idea. At night the sun turns away from earth looking at the other planets this way, then this way, like it normally does at morning, then the moon comes up and looks that way. This is about time and the sun and rainbows. What makes the rainbow move is, after time gets to, probably like 14 minutes, the sun gently moves away a little, and it goes like, onto the table or something else.
Duke (drawing) There are the planets rotating around the sun. 
Anna So Duke, how do the planets make the reflections move?
Max H. The earth is moving around the sun, not the sun move around the earth. This is what I think, the sun moves in different places. 
(Max is standing so his body is between the window and the carpet, blocking the sunbeam getting to the rug.)
Max H. Anna, this is kind of like shadows and reflections. I wonder why, if I stand in the sun, the sun's not reflecting me?
Duke Shadows are colored?
So these are some of our questions... Does the sun move, or does the earth move? What about the sun and planets make those shadows on the rug move? Does the sun move every minute, or every hour, or maybe not at all? 


  1. thank you! Your Reggio blog is lovely. Are you a graphic designer? My daughter is in love with Turkey and Turkish, and I will be visiting her there next fall! Are there any schools I should see around Istanbul?

  2. Thanks for this post Anna. A great example of how inquiries emerge and can develop into small group research. I will be sharing with my Early Years team.


Post a Comment

Please do comment!