Monday, October 14, 2013

Phase 2: Our Visit to the Fire Station

As mentioned in an earlier post, Our First Project This Year: Phase I, we have begun a study of the Fire Department.  In beginning this study and telling our parents about the interest we found out that the father of one of our student's is a volunteer fire fighter.  He offered to take a day off from his day job and have the class come to his fire station.  Once again, we talked about the specific interests and questions of the children and he created an amazing experience for the children.

The impetus for this study came from the children spraying each other in their dramatic play.  We talked a lot about the spray of the water and that water could actually be quite heavy and hard when sprayed at a high pressure.  Paul, our "father" fire fighter arranged for the the truck to be at a local beach in order for the children to see the hose being unrolled, filling with water and spraying it.

They could feel the pressure of the water and the strength needed to hold the hoses when he tried to let go while they held it alone.  Even the teachers had to get in on the action.

Of course, once the fire is out, the hoses need to be drained and rolled.


The children were also curious about what fire fighters held in their pockets.  They had been adding knives and orange juice from our dramatic play center.  Paul made sure to answer these questions by getting in full dress and showing him everything kept in each pocket.

We had been noticing several items in our research.  While doing a project the children do "research" by looking in non-fiction books on the topic and then putting a little sticky note on a page that interests them.  At group times the children show their page and we read the caption of the photo or the page the photo is on.  One child had noticed the jaws of life taking off a car door.  This went on to our list of questions , "do fire trucks carry the jaws of life".  Paul showed us where they keep two similar tools and took them out for the children to get a closer look.


Another child found photos in a book of some images seen through heat detector goggles.  So, each child was able to look through the heat goggles to see their teacher as a ghostly image.

Following this specific questions and hands on answering session, we went to the station and had a tour.  This is a volunteer station so the fire fighters do not sleep there.  They also did not have a fire pole.  The did have a kitchen and computers and maps and alarms confirming some of their predictions.

There were many other parts of the station that we saw, but the key point is that what we focused on was related to their questions. Of course, many new questions emerged as we explored the station.   We took many photographs including close ups of the many details and features of the trucks and aspects of the station so that we could use them to help us with our representations later on. We also spent time sketching areas that interested the children.


It was an incredible day!

The children had so much to talk about and were so excited to start some representations.  Of course, they had more questions as well..."is every fire station the same?" and "does any station have a fire pole?" ...hmmmm, time to plan another trip.

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