Players is a very fitting name for the 2nd and 3rd grade classroom where play is still a crucial component of learning. At this stage, students are developing an increased sense of responsibility and independence, as well as ownership over their learning.
Their minds are filled with questions and they have a growing ability to visualize the steps they need to take to find answers.
It is important for them to recognize that making mistakes is an essential part of the learning process and to develop the confidence to persevere through frustration.
Players are ready to begin exploring and making discoveries for themselves!
Nothing makes Learning Center students happier than becoming explorers and conquering the world! That is just what we did during our “Explorers” theme. As with any good journey, much time was spent in preparation. We began by reading and discussing books about famous explorers and their adventures. The students became interested in the various historical periods in which each voyage was taken, the reasons for the explorations, and how civilization was changed because of the risks taken by these courageous adventurers.
Once we were ready, we just needed a place to explore. The students met this challenge by creating the largest single piece of artwork ever made by Learning Center students: a map of the world that covered the entire floor of a classroom!
First, older students measured out the dimensions of the map and drew a large grid system that matched the smaller reference maps. What a great math project! The older students mentored the younger students as we sketched, detailed, and colored one grid square of the map at a time. To finish, every feature was carefully labeled on the map. In the end, we had an accurately proportioned, beautifully detailed, colorful map of the world, ready for use in our adventure.
Finally, the time had come for us to set sail! We were able to dramatically recreate famous trips all over the world with a clear understanding of the routes taken by the explorers we'd studied. The students had all developed a keen sense of world geography --no doubt about it! But what’s more, we had a much better understanding of how taking risks, making mistakes, recalculating, and trying again really changes the world!