Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blowin' in the Wind

One of the topics I cover each year with my class is Wind and Air. This is fun, because this is a relatively abstract topic, especially to a 3 year old.

I start out the unit with the question, "What is wind?"

Some of the responses....

"It is outside"

"It makes it cold"

"You can break it" (this one made me chuckle....)

We then headed outside to see what clues we could seeto figure out whether or not there was wind. At first, there was no movement at all; typical on the day I want to observe wind there isn't a leaf stirring. I asked the class. "Can you see wind?" After the resounding "NO!" that was shouted, I asked, "Well, how will we know if it's windy if we can't see wind?"

This is when their minds started to to click. It is wonderful to watch them puzzle out the answers to things that we as adults take for granted. As a slight breeze started to move the leaves on the trees, the students began shouting their observations and ideas...

"Wind moves the leaves!"

"You can feel the wind on your face!"

"The wind moves my skirt!"

"The wind is moving my hair!"

"The wind makes the trees wave!"

From that moment on, my class became very aware of wind. Extremely windy days were awesome; we experimented with what things could stay put in wind, and what things could not (rocks never move, no matter how windy; feathers, however, move EVERYWHERE, which, by the way, is how birds fly). We talked about how wind could be cold and hot, how wind could make you cold if you were hot, or make you hot if you were cold (we do live in the desert...). We made kites from plastic shopping bags (re-use! A favorite term from my recycle unite) and wondered at how they filled with the wind and flew in the air.

One particularly windy day, we were walking back to the classroom from the restroom as a group, talking about how the wind was moving the dead leaves on the ground and blowing our hair into our eyes. Suddenly, Paul, with a brand new summer crew cut, pipes up...

"Mrs. Velarde, my hair must be super strong. Look! The wind isn't moving it at all!"

Paul was quite the toast of his friends that day, with his super strong hair.