The Cooper School Daily

Tinkering, Vocabulary, and Roller Coasters


Kindergarteners were introduced the Tinkering Learning Center in the classroom this week. Our Tinkering Learning Center is filled with many objects, from beads to rubber bands, and bottle caps, that are awaiting the bright and unique minds of kindergarteners.

In the Tinkering Learning Center, students create an illustrated plan for the materials they choose to work with. Once students have illustrated their plan, they attempt to build their “plan” and compare it to their tinkered piece. Tinkering activities provide a powerful way to inspire students’ interest, engagement, and understanding in science and the arts. Student exploration during tinkering supports science learning through providing opportunities to deepen engagement, innovation, and, understanding, as well as supporting self-expression through the arts.

Vivid Vocabulary

Kindergarten scholars have been learning sophisticated words each week! These rigorous words come from our Text Talk curriculum. In this curriculum, we focus on one book each week. The book is read aloud to the class on Monday and Tuesday with frequent pauses to scaffold comprehension. Students develop deep understanding through exercising comprehension skills such as summarizing, identifying problem/solution, recognizing story structure, clarifying story ideas, making inferences, and building prior knowledge throughout each story. Wednesday and Thursday’s lessons each explicitly teach 3 new words with conversations about the words in child-friendly examples. Students demonstrate their understanding through discussion, dramatic interpretation (sitting statues), and illustrating examples of our vocabulary words.

k_building_2Kindergarteners are so excited to be learning these vivid vocabulary words. They delight in hearing words we are studying outside of our vocabulary instruction, and enjoy applying them to different situations throughout our day.

Engineering and Roller Coasters

On Monday, kindergarteners had the chance to meet my dad, Mr. Frank. He visited our classroom to talk to the students all about being a civil engineer and what engineers do in general? Kindergarteners learned that he helps make decisions on roads being built including bridges. Kindergarteners learned that bridges are built first by establishing a foundation under the water and then are built up from there. Kindergarteners were amazed to learn that Mr. Frank helped build an expansion to an important canal call the Panama Canal. Students delighted in seeing the pictures of that project on the smart board.

Mr. Frank continued the learning by helping the student’s design, create, and build their own roller coasters. Kindergarteners were put into groups to work collaboratively to strategize and build a rollercoaster that would allow a marble go in the top and out the bottom. It was great to watch these young engineers use their imaginations, creativity, and problem solving skills to create such amazing coasters. Ask your child about the roller coaster they helped create?