Over the school year the children have been very interested in animals. They are interested in how they look, how they sound, and how they move. We wanted to explore this further with them, most specifically how animals move, because we were wondering how the children perceived this idea and would represent their thinking.
We stated off by letting the children look at the hermit crabs we have in the classroom. We let the crabs walk around in our sand box on the ground so they could see clearly and have an idea of their motion. The other neat thing the children noticed was that as the crabs moved, they could see their tracks in the sand. Many children pointed these out specifically with their hands and fingers. They couldn’t tell me what they were, but when asked how they got there some of the children motioned towards the crabs.
We then offered the children some of our classroom plastic animals to manipulate in the sand. We offered them specific animals that would have different tracks in the sand if the children moved them around. Some of the children began to notice these tracks and point them out as they moved the animals along in the sand. We want to expand on this and see if we can figure out specially what the children know about particular animals and how they move – and think of ways it will be easy for the children to represent their understanding.