SK Students Inquire into Human Relationships with the Natural World
By Branksome Hall Asia Senior Kindergarten team
After many weeks of online learning, SK students are back in school and enjoying hands-on learning experiences with their teachers. As students continue to explore the relationships between humans and the natural world they have engaged in the following activities at school:
- Students discovered that fabrics and dyes can come from plant and animal sources. Using cotton and silk and applying clamp resist techniques, they dyed their cloth with onion skins and an insect called Lac. Students wondered about and then observed how the resulting colors vary when the plant fiber is placed in the animal derived dye and the animal fiber is placed in the plant derived dye or vice versa.
- Students were involved in an outdoor scavenger hunt. They had a list of elements found in nature and had to explore their surroundings in order to find them. This scavenger hunt was a great way for students to pay attention to their close natural environment.
- Students considered other ways humans use plants and learned that paper is often made from trees. We used plants (straw) to make pulp to explore a method used to produce paper. Students cut up pieces of straw into short lengths to be mixed with water and blended to create pulp. They then floated the pulp over a silk-screen frame and lifted it out to dry, creating a very coarse, but authentic paper.
- Through the making of story stones, students were able to use items from the natural environment for a new purpose. In this case, they painted images on stones that were later used for collaborative storytelling. Story stones are great tools for developing communication skills and engaging children’s imaginations while creatively using objects found in nature.
- “What is a shelter?” and “How does a shelter help us? Through these questions students discussed different kinds of shelters and how they protect us from the elements . They were then set the task of creating their own shelter as a team using a tarp and materials in nature, like stones, branches, and trees.
- The children took part in a nature survey using different areas around BHA to build their observation skills and appreciation for the nature around them. Students used a square foot frame to lay on the ground and gather information based on what they observed within.
This was a wonderful opportunity for SK to come together as a community of learners to cultivate curiosity. Students had many insightful questions and observations about the natural world around them and their place within it.