Educational research consistently illustrates that children will learn more from experiences that are authentic and meaningful to them. We want children to gain strong foundational academic skills, and to know why they are important in real life. Giving children experiences outside of school and off-campus is an exciting way to help children learn skills around interviewing, research and data collection.
Intrigued by two of the larger skyscrapers in our community, children in our Prekindergarten class began to make representations of those buildings while playing with blocks. They had conversations amongst themselves about how tall the buildings were, how reflective their glass windows were, and excitedly reported to their teachers when the colored lights at the top of the buildings changed.
Capitalizing on their curiosity, teachers took their students to Perimeter’s well-known Queen Building. They arranged an interview with the head of the building’s maintenance team and scheduled a meeting at Thrasher Worth LLC on the 32nd floor, where MV parent Kim Worth is a Shareholder. Armed with their interview questions, clipboards for drawing, iPads for recording and taking photos, and a stopwatch for timing the elevator, our Prekindergarten students gathered data about the building itself (and even got to have a snack in the conference room). When they returned to school, they used all of the information they gathered to make their own “kid-sized” Queen building in their classroom – complete with real LED working lights. While the children worked on their language, writing, literacy, science and math skills during the course of this project, they also learned how to apply those skills to creating something real in their classroom.