By Mary Van Cleef, Kindergarten teacher at Forestdale
In our kindergarten class, we spent the first part of January learning all about Gingerbread Men, Girls, and Babies. We read many different versions of the gingerbread stories and poems to compare how each one was similar and different. During this time we asked ourselves: Why was the gingerbread made? Who did the gingerbread meet on his travels? Did the gingerbread get eaten at the end? We charted our results to help our students as they each wrote their own gingerbread story complete with illustrations. We had an author share in which each student presented their book to the class.
We conducted our own experiment to see what would happen if a gingerbread fell into the water. The students first predicted what might happen then we submerged a gingerbread cookie into a cup of water. We observed and recorded our actual findings in our science notebooks.
We step-by-step designed our own gingerbread houses. The students began by drawing what their house might look like. They then built their house with a choice of materials – blocks, Legos, or Magna Tiles. Before the actual build day, each student estimated how many of each candy they would use to decorate their house. Finally it was building day! After each house was built, the students counted exactly how many of each candy they actually used and then graphed the results. Using inquiry based learning, we predicted, estimated, experimented, and recorded our findings. It was really fun!