The final step in a Project Approach investigation is the culminating activity. The question of “who ate our birdfeeders” led to a several month long investigation into the various animals that could live around our playground.
The children were very interested in the different animals they had learned about so we made dioramas. As a side study, we had several children who loved to perform, so we decided to put on a play of a story they really liked.
In order for the children to share their “expertise” we hosted a museum for their families. We created invitations and baked animal cookies and set up our dioramas around the room as if they were exhibits. We also displayed our documentation panels, our artifacts such as our deer hoof impressions, and our science journals.
The parent, siblings, grandparents and special friends came to the event. The children became the naturalists guiding their guests through what they had discovered and teaching them what they had learned.
After about 25 minutes, the children went in to the classroom next door. A few parents helped us move the furniture to set up for our play. I put the scenery and props out while my assistant and parent helper dressed the children in the costumes they had made.
The transition from museum to play was remarkably smooth and the children were absolute stars in the play. We even had a last minute role change as one of our starring animals was sick. His friend quickly learned his lines and no one was the wiser.
The pride on their faces was incredible.
It was a time to celebrate learning. The parents came and validated the importance of their play. They showed the children that they are the experts, that their learning is important.
They gave them the gift of truly listening to them.