Friday, February 11, 2011

The Tracking Adventure Continues...Right Outside Our Door!

A shout out to Ron King at Natural Playgrounds Company for helping me to see outside the boundaries of our playground fence.  We had an amazing meeting with him and are so inspired to get started on our natural playground-but that will be another post.

During his visit, he walked the wooded area behind our playground fence.  He came back to tell me about the evidence of deer he had seen there.  I knew they walked behind there as I had seen them before, but it didn’t occur to me to take my students for a nature walk just beyond the barriers of our very own fence.  So yesterday, we did just that. 

We walked and used our knowledge as budding naturalists to look for evidence of deer presence.  We found it.  We came across many piles of deer scat and beautifully preserved footprints in the icy snow.  I knew we had to seize this moment!

When we started our playtime inside I worked with small groups of children to mix cement

Find a good print

Put a frame around it

Clear out any debris collected on the print

And then pour the cement into the footprint

We did this for four different prints.

This morning we went back and dug them up.  
The cement stuck to so much snow and mud that we had to take the entire chunk inside. 

We thought it would melt, but when class was over, the impressions were still muddy, icy frozen blocks.

We are leaving them on trays to check on Monday.

I hope the impressions work.  I have never done this before.  It is part of what makes emergent curriculum so exciting.  My students are challenging me to learn new things right along with them!


  1. I'm really enjoying your tracking adventures. It seems so foreign to me as I sit here and swelter in the heat to see kids out and about in the snow. Lucky lucky children :)

  2. Hi, Dana,
    Typically when making a casting, a mold is sprayed/coated with oil so that things don't stick. Next time, you might try spraying/brushing the imprint with salad oil to see whether that makes a difference. Also, concrete generates heat when it cures, which would cause your imprint to melt and deform. You might try plaster of paris. It also generates heat, but it sets up faster....

  3. Thanks Ron. Hopefully we haven't had too much melt over the weekend and we can try again.

  4. Hi,
    That sounds like a lesson they'll remember forever.