Happy 5th Birthday Giacomo!
On December 4th, Giacomo turned 5! We have been patiently waiting to celebrate him here at school, and during that time, we've been working hard on his birthday committee (George, Nora, and Lochie)! This work has taken place over the course of a few weeks and has involved a lot of research, trial-and-error, and a lot of excitement and joy!
"When are we going to work on the birthday committee?" - Nora, 5.1 years
Why do we do an interview?
"To start finding out what you can make with what you got in the interview." - Lochie, 5.0 years
With a sneaking suspicion that Giacomo would like something that was mechanical or required some engineering, I prepped some materials for Giacomo's interview that would allow us to experiment with a new "tool", learn a new technique, and keep our minds and hands connected.
**the interview involved Giacomo, Nora, and Lochie as George was not at school that day.**
After we established that Giacomo would like something that spins, we pulled out the tray of materials that I brought for the committee. I was thrilled that it was truly related to the conversation that we had just had, and Lochie was eager to teach Giacomo what he and Nora had recently learned about using brads to make paper spin; a technique that was introduced to Lochie and Nora in anticipation of them being on Giacomo's committee. It is so wonderful when we find these connections in the work that we are doing, and even better when we can intentionally connect it to a meaningful process for one of the children.
The Research Phase
On December 2nd, the committee met to research things that spin. There were so many questions to ask, explore, and answer. A few of them were:
In the end, they separated all of the objects into categories based on "what makes it spin".
Objects with handles: Clock gears, music box wine stopper, wheel, magnetic gears, dreidels, pinwheels, and a lego piece (Ines's husband made it for us).
Objects with a metal piece/circle piece in the middle: Color wheel, games spinner, and our paper/brads creations.
Objects that push to spin: Wine bottle opener.
Things that spin/roll on their sides: Tree cookies and paper lantern.
But, how can we translate this to paper?
"We could make this [pinwheel]. We just need paper and a stick." - George
Additional research and prototypes
For our next meeting on 12/8, we began by drawing our ideas for the pinwheel.
Our work for this meeting focused on how we would make the pinwheel. What materials would we use? What did we need to look for around the school? What could we make from scratch? How would we put it together?
I intentionally used the word prototype and explained that it can be a first version (or second, third, fourth, etc.). George reminded them that we needed a stick, and so they set to work making a "stick" out of paper and tape.
In the end, we decided to take a closer look at our green pinwheel because our prototypes either did not spin, or the metal was too heavy to be held up by the paper/brad. So, what other information did we need to inform our choices about materials?
Prototypes #3 and #4
This meeting was primarily about figuring out how we might need to fold our paper to make it spin. We took a close look at the pinwheel we had, and Lochie determined, "They cut paper and put it into short and skinny pieces."
Nora and Lochie were not satisfied with the strips of paper, so Nora suggested that we try a whole paper. She attached it to the paper sticks from our previous prototypes, and we cut slits in the corners and she began folding it; Lochie soon joined her.
At this point we had four prototypes. Each one taught us something new and brought us closer to the final gift.
The final day
And oh the joy when we finally saw it spin! (Reed had come in to investigate what Nora was working on)
And finally, celebrating our birthday boy!
Giacomo's committee planned to sing "Happy Birthday" in at least two languages, so we sang in English and Italian to celebrate our friend! It was a wonderful celebration, and we hope Giacomo knows how loved he is in the Tucker family! Happy 5th Birthday Giacomo!
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