This post follows a thread (pun intended) that upon reflection, had its beginning in the fall when one morning, we added the card game Into the Forest to the classroom offerings.
It’s a simple card game. Each card has an illustration of a plant or animal. If the card represents an animal, it has a list of what that animal eats and a list of what eats that animal. The game is played like the card game of war. Older friends helped younger friends read the cards as they all began to learn about food webs. The conversations went something like this: ” I’m a skunk. I eat berries. I eat you!” “I’m a frog. Is anybody an insect? I eat insects. I hope no one is a snake.” Friends learned about producers and consumers and that there are many more plants and animals toward the center of the food web than on the outer edge. The Death and Decay card was the most feared and coveted as it claimed all cards for that round. Sometimes in a round of play, no one was eaten. “Oh good! I didn’t get eaten.” “Yeah, but we didn’t eat either. I’m hungry.” This was simple introduction to food webs and interconnection.
We continued food web exploration with some collaborative storytelling, first with the younger friends and then again with all friends. One friend held the end of a ball of yarn and “became” something at the base of a food chain. In our first go around, the beginning of our web was Asian honeysuckle, an invasive plant found in abundance in our outdoor area. We had a difficult time thinking of something that ate this shrub, but a young friend suggested a hairy tarantella. Although we know this is not a creature found in our area, we accepted the suggestion in order to move the story along 🙂 Friends quickly caught on, creatures were named, and the yarn was passed and connected. Soon the web was complete with every friend representing a part and holding the yarn. I tugged on one section of the web and asked “Who felt that tug?” Those two friends tugged on the yarn, and so on until all friends felt a tug. Then we told a story beginning with the first plant, weaving the tale and winding the yarn until all the creatures had their time in the story.
At the Farm, we continued web weaving. Each student was given a small ball of yarn or paracord to tie and weave around trees and shrubs to create a huge web. This was a wonderful opportunity to practice tying, wrapping, and twisting. Friends also had to estimate. “I don’t have enough string to reach that tree.” “Is there a tree closer?” “This one might be closer!” After the web was completed, friends enjoyed moving through it trying not to touch the strands. This is an activity friends asked to repeat! In later play the stands were lasers!
Teacher Elizabeth introduced a large loom, and friends took turns learning the pattern of over, under, over under. Such wonderful concentration!
In the classroom, we supported and continued the exploration of weaving, first with ribbons, paper, and fabric woven on paper looms. Later, we worked with yarn on cardboard looms.
In December, we continued weaving using sticks we collected at the farm, this time the using cool colors of winter.
Our final weaving was a large scale collaborative piece. We wrapped a hula hoop with tulle fabric, then created the warp with twine. Unlike our other weaving, where the warp was straight and parallel, this warp was organically formed as friends continued passing the twine back and forth across and around the circle.
Next, friends wove a variety of material into the piece. Some continued the over under pattern that was used before, others knotted and tied ribbons to the edges. They worked together to fill the circle with interesting patterns and color!
The finished piece!
Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.Leonardo da Vinci