Last year my class was absolutely OBSESSED with Super Heroes. They were everywhere in the children’s play, indoors and out, but most especially at the small building centre. It really all started with two boys who began creating super heroes out of linking cubes. After sharing their creations with the class, more and more children began turning up at the small building centre to make and play super hero games.
At the same time all this was going on, one of my favourite bloggers was also experiencing some Super Hero mayhem in her class. Mrs Meyers began posting some amazing STEM ideas based off the characteristics of Super Hero stories (along with many other super hero related questions, which she wrote about in her blog here: http://mrsmyerskindergarten.blogspot.ca/2017/03/what-we-learned-by-investigating.html)
All of the ideas we tried were hugely popular and led to a lot of experimentation and conversation in our class. We added some of our own provocations based on the children’s overall interest in certain materials (e.g., Plasticine, Lego). Here is a gallery of some of our work:
This STEM flying challenge was VERY popular and led to a lot of collaboration and teamwork. In fact, many children challenged themselves to come up with multiple ways of making these Duplo characters fly. One group of boys was ecstatic when they figured out how to make a catapult. For days, Duplo Super Heroes were flying across the classroom!
By far the most popular provocation was this one which gave the children an opportunity to create a Super Hero out of Plasticine (modelling clay). Most students came here often to make a number of different Super Heroes. We loved sharing these at reflection time and talking about the aspects of the costumes that helped us identify each Super Hero’s identity. I was amazed at how detailed these creations were! We had a collection of Super Hero readers which I gathered from the library that the children were intent on consulting as they worked to make sure they got everything just right.
One of the thinking routines we relied on heavily for this project was “Can…Have…Are…” This unique take on a concept web really helps focus the children’s thinking on a specific topic. We used it to organize our thinking about villains, specific superheroes like Spiderman, and about Superheroes in general. Each time we used it, the children got more skilled at communicating their ideas.
What Superhero inquiry would be complete without some creative costume making? The more we talked about superheroes, the more interested the children were in developing their own superhero personas. We used small cardstock cards to make masks and plastic table cloths to make capes.
We wrapped up our learning with a “superhero day” where everyone came to school dressed as their favourite superhero.
In addition to celebrating our learning with a Super Hero day, we also celebrated by creating a display of our work. The children were so incredibly proud to see their work on display and could often be found admiring their work with classmates and friends.
A BIG thank you again to Mrs Meyers for sharing her class’s learning online and continuing to inspire me and my students!
What supplies did you use for the flying challenge ? How did you envision them flying ? Do you have any templates for the building of the super vehicle?
Hi Jackie! We used tape, string, blocks, tongue depressors, etc. My original thought was that they would figure out a catapult (which they did) but some kids also taped the string to the figurines and swung them around, which I thought was quite smart. Otherwise, I didn’t think too much about how they would solve the problem as the children often have way more ideas than I do! We did not use a template for the LEGO vehicles. But I did show the kids beforehand how to connect the wheel parts together and then attach them to the base so they understood the basic structure. After that, the children could design their vehicles any way they wanted. We have a lot of free play with LEGO in our class so the children are used to coming up with their own designs.