Sunday, November 17, 2013

"This is our machine!" by T.B. and T.D.

Over the past week, two SK students have been working quite hard as a building team to create what has been called "the machine." Now...according to T.B. and T.D., this machine is no ordinary machine. It is a machine that can create all sorts of tasty treats with only the touch of a button! Without giving too much away, the following transcriptions have been documented by Ms. Theis and I as these two future "engineers" made their thinking visible through drawings, diagrams and video recordings. Thank you to T.B. and T.D.'s families for letting us share their building adventure on the blog and we welcome any comments and questions below! 

Part 1: "The Machine" began as a Pizza, Pancake and Cookie Machine

Ms. Theis: Can you tell me about what you created?

T.B.: "That's a plan. This is where the pizza goes and this is where the pancakes go."

Ms. Theis: What happens in there?

T.B.: "It looks like an oven. The KAPLA Blocks represent the steam which is what happens on the oven. This is the pizza decorator (points to T.D.). First I need to put it in. The decorator puts the cheese and pepperoni and tomato sauce on it as a decorator."

Ms. Theis: What are the shapes on your machine for?

T.B.: "They are buttons. It works for the cookies. The hexagon and square buttons are for the cookie one to start. And the trapezoid and other square buttons are to stop the cookie one."

Part 2: "The Machine" turns into a magic restaurant machine that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Ms. Schmidt: Can you show me how your machine works?

T.D.: "First, you have to choose what you want." (shows the menu cards)

Ms. Schmidt: Can I please have some cereal and fruit?

T.B.: "Ok, so T.D. you be the chef and I be the server."

T.D.: "Ok, you need water now."

T.B.: "Remember to push the button so that the machine turns on and makes the cereal. I'll get all the fruit. The shells are the power so we need lots. The shells work with the gears."

Ms. Schmidt: What are gears?

T.B.: "Gears are the things that go round and round. They help things go through the machine. They are special because they have a job to do so our machine can work. See?" (shows with his finger).

Ms. Schmidt: What are all the arrows for?

T.D.: "The arrows go up and down."

T.B.: "Yeah, they show the machine and how it works like up and down, back and forth like here, see?"

Ms. Schmidt: "I noticed you put two different letters on either side of your machine. Can you tell me what they are for?"

T.B.: "The 'F' is for 'finish' and the 'S' is for start. The 'S' is where the ingredients go in and where we have to put them all and the 'F' is where is all comes magic! The letters tell us where to go so we don't make mistakes."

T.D.: "Look, your cereal is ready and fruit is ready. It comes out here." (points to the 'F')

Here is a video that documents T.B. and T.D. explaining their thinking behind their machine and also highlights them presenting their work to the class. 

Feel free to enlarge the video to get an even better glimpse into their thinking!

It is thrilling to see students apply so many learned skills in one exploration! The learning that occurred throughout T.B. and T.D.'s investigation truly exemplifies the beauty of a play-based environment and the nature of the Full Day Kindergarten Program. The "play" that you witnessed in the video and throughout the transcriptions, is a testament to the meaningful learning that came out of such a rich and robust experience for these students. Moreover, with this one exploration, T.B. and T.D. demonstrated an understanding of many curriculum expectations from Language (Oral Communication) and Mathematics (Geometry & Spatial Sense) to Science and Personal/Social/Emotional Development, these types of learning opportunities foster endless possibilities for authentic dialogue and assessment. 


  1. What great thinking and explaining of these two students. I tried to view the video but it comes up "private" just an FYI.
    Love it.

    1. Hi Kim,
      Thanks so much and you're absolutely right! Very rich and robust thinking going on which is why I had to showcase on the blog - gave me goosebumps! (Haha)
      Thanks for letting me know about the video. Will be sure to fix tomorrow when I'm back on my computer :)
      Thanks for reading!

  2. i was very happy reading the post.. thank you alot