Sometimes when I teach I will do an activity with the whole class, but today I tried out some small group centres. They were a hit! I encouraged creative ideas when planning and designing outside of the box – like an architect. Today I challenged my students to think like an architect. I find a challenge, along with a book gives kids a focus and motivation when building.
After reading, I showed students the different building materials that I had available for them. The specific type of material is not important, just having a variety is key. I then passed out white boards and markers and let them select what building material they wanted to use. I gave everyone 2 minutes to draw and plan what they were going to build. It could be a house, town or even a piece of furniture! The possibilities are endless, but the focus is the planning.
Some students drew only a little before building; however, others really enjoyed this planning stage. Some students even traced the materials to accurately draw their picture. I was really impressed with how well students did to stop and think before they began building.
I like the idea that everyone had the option of using any of the materials that they were interested in. Students were free to move from material to material during the period. They did however, always have to stop and plan before using a new material.
This activity was done over two, 40 minute periods. I wanted students to have enough time to actually build, but also time to explore the different building materials available. I love the idea of planning before building and was impressed by how serious and focused everyone was during the activity.