Thursday, September 12, 2013

BRAI is for Brains

Why Brains?
We're building on what we started yesterdaythe day before, and the day before that.

 How Did I Invite Them?
I took some tickets and a sharpie outside.  I quietly walked up to the children who had previously shown interest plus a few new children (today I needed six in order for the group staying back to be in ratio with one teacher), and I whispered, while writing a B and an R and an A and an I on the ticket, "Are you interested in coming to do some research in the BRAI [making the sound bray] for Brains group?  Yes?  Here's a BRAI for Brains ticket! You can wait at the gate for everyone!"

How Did I Set Up The Group Area?
I brought the same 3D brain model/puzzle plus a new labyrinth puzzle (the kind you turn in order to get the balls to go through the maze) plus a new body puzzle (with different layers for different systems of the body). 

What Was My Intention For Today?
I've been thinking about T's interest in the puzzle aspect of the 3D brain model, and I wanted to see if I could extend that interest and offer the opportunity for more questions, thoughts, and ideas to come up about our brain's connection to the rest of our body.
I also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to include different children in the special group.

What Did We Do?
My introduction to the puzzles was short:  "Yesterday we worked really hard!  Our cerebellums sent
messages to our bodies about movement, and we gained skills in jumping and balancing.  Today, I brought some puzzles, and I'm interested to see how our brains help us figure them out!"

L and T were drawn to the brain model.  T asked what the different parts were, and as long as they weren't too busy with the labyrinth, W and M would peek over and offer answers (e.g. brain stem, cerebellum, IDon'tKnowJustSomethingThatDoesSomething, and so on).  At one point, L pretended to eat the brain, smacking her lips and "yumming."

W and M (and soon L and even later T) worked hard at the labyrinth.

T and J were completely immersed in the body puzzle.  They were so involved that when everyone else was ready to rejoin the class, we decided to transfer the puzzle to a table in the backyard so that they could continue to work on it.

I didn't want to disrupt their concentration and hard work, so I worked hard to wait for them to look up at me to make comments intended to reflect on their work, "Hey, you're working on the part of the body that has all of the organs!"  T replied, "Yeah, this is the brain part!"

Later I observed, "Hey!  You finished the organ layer, and now you're working on the muscles!  J's helping to find the muscle layer.  The muscles go on top of the organs."  J agreed, "Yep.  I helpin'."

I made silly comments like, "Oh wait!  J's trying to put the skin part down, but we haven't got the muscles there yet!  What would it be like if our skin was under our muscles?!?"  T replied seriously, "We'd be dead!"

My Reflections
 These kids got brains.

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