While listening to the children and looking for a potential project in first grade, a disagreement came up that turned into a project all on its own. First grade teachers Shayla and Salina described to me how older children had a log in a forked tree and they were using it as a seesaw. The first graders found a ripped up note on the ground that said "don't use this, it is hurting the tree." They realized that the seesaw is creating friction that is wearing off the bark of the growing tree. The children took out the log, but when we went out the next day the middle schoolers had put it back!
The older group very much disagreed about whether the see saw was hurting the tree. It became a big disagreement, and first grade did some research which they wrote and delivered to the middle schoolers about how bark protects the tree.
"In a really deep forest the tallest tree is the most magical"
There are so many pieces to this puzzle! A few things that came up in dialog with the first grade children are;
How to get people to listen to you when you're sure you're right and so do they.
Thinking about the word stubborn and why people sometimes act stubbornly.
The health of trees- do they have feelings?
Can trees be magical?
How to build a see saw.
As the first graders in Shayla and Salina's class continue to observe and research trees, including possible magical qualities, we have also begun to plan to build a see saw that both middle school aged children and 7 year olds can fit on.
Felicity "We need to test it with our own bodies."
Benjamin "It can go up and down. The triangle needs to be bigger. And also it needs to be centered."
Blair "We're trying to make it like the tree that was hurting."
Henderson "This is not going to work. If a giant sixth grader sits on it it's going to break."
Addy "It's too low. The sixth graders will be so squatty. It will be so tiny."