Classroom Feature: Meadowlarks Preschool Classroom

Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Meadowlarks Volcano Research

Volcano Research Questions

After bringing back many books about volcanoes from the Missoula Public Library, we decided to investigate volcanoes as a class. During Lunchtime Lesson on Monday, we came up with a list of questions that we have about volcanoes. The Meadowlarks had SO many questions, that I filled up the entire board! We also talked about the difference between a question and a story during this time (e.g. Questions can start with “I wonder…” but a story often cannot). During this time, we were also able to practice our letter/sound recognition as many Meadowlarks started to notice that most of our questions started with HOW. How does hot lava turn into rock? How does a volcano erupt? How does hot lava get so hot?

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Volcano Research: Books, Videos, and Drawings/Creations

Most of our investigations as Meadowlark Class so far this year have involved experiments. So to start off our volcano investigation, we talked about how sometimes scientists need to do background research instead of an experiment (maybe someone else already discovered the answer to a question). We revised the questions we had come up with on the board then watched various videos and read various books in order to try and answer our questions. The Meadowlarks loved having videos projected onto the classroom wall. We watched educational videos about volcanoes but also watched real life footage of volcanoes erupting in Hawaii and Iceland. By watching these real life eruptions, we learned that many eruptions are not explosive or scary. We read a bunch of the books on volcanoes that we checked out from the library to answer our questions as well. Many Meadowlarks then chose to express their newfound knowledge of volcanoes by drawing pictures (these are posted next to our volcano picture at Jumping Spider’s Science Center) or building volcano related structures on the carpet.

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Volcanologist Dramatic Play

As the Meadowlark’s interest in volcanoes and volcanology grew, we decided to turn Coyote’s Dramatic Play Center into a volcano laboratory. The Meadowlarks have spent the past week pretending to be volcanologists: weighing and measuring various rocks, collecting data, taking samples, making observations, etc. While weighing and measuring all the different rocks, we made the discovery that the lava rocks were much lighter than different rocks that were the same size. Interesting! This volcanologist dramatic play also continued outside on the playground. Many Meadowlarks pretended to be volcanologists among the lava (puddles) and continued to collect and measure lava rocks (chunks of ice/snow). Through our dramatic play and other research, we learned that volcanologists help to save people’s lives by monitoring volcanoes around the world and warning people if a volcano might erupt. 

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Learning Objectives

  • Use technology as a tool for learning new information

  • Engage in age-appropriate questions to challenge thinking

  • Demonstrate curiosity and fascination

  • Investigate rocks and landscapes

  • Allow others to share preconceived notions and discuss

  • Set up simple addition problems

  • Make simple comparisons

  • Explore and describe properties/characteristics of objects/materials and how they can be changed

  • Engage in cooperative peer play in which there is a shared purpose

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