April 11, 2012

Accidental Counting

Letting the students’ interests guide their learning experiences is one of the best ways for them to learn. Here is an example.

Today during recess there were many millipedes walking around the playground. The children were fascinated by them.

One of the boys got a bucket from the sand pit and began collecting them. Soon enough lots of children joined in.

Young Ones.

Older ones

“How many?” one child asked

“Toooooo many” the boy said
“So let’s get more”, another added.
“Yeahhh”, they all said. And they continued to collect millipedes.

The constant movement of the millipedes in the bucket was fascinating.

“Can I take them home?” the boy with the bucket asked.
“Sure” I said, “but you have to ask your mother if it is ok. Maybe we can do something with them after recess?”

“We can count them!” someone said.
Counting interesting things is a favorite activity in EC.

We passed the jar around and guessed how many millipedes were there.

I asked how we could count them. They said, “One by one”.

We decided to place them in a tray and the boy who started collecting them volunteered to get them one by one and place in the bucket as we counted.

When we got to 45 I thought the children would loose interest but they kept their focus the whole time.

Guess how many? One Hundred and Four Millipedes! A number quite abstract for early childhood students, but they loved it. Well, they know one hundred is a lot!

The millipedes are now back in the garden. By dismissal time the boy did not want to take them home anymore. I think his mother was quite happy about that. 

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