Imagining a world of wool (in 1st grade)

I've been working with Ms. Belle's 1st grade class at Convent in San Francisco for the last few years...her 1st graders (6-7 year old girls) have made wool balls, written stories about Woollard, designed and built their own world of wool, brainstormed and sketched...what would happen if Woollard (who is made of wool) and Bob (who is made of cork) met each other on a sunny, rainy or windy day. Here are a few quick thoughts on how to organize an activity like this in the future:

1st Grade (Year 6-7) - material properties and early science concepts
Ask the students to pick one of these questions and write a story...inspired the the material's superpower or weakness. Is wool...faster than the clouds? Is wool...stronger than rain? Is wool...lighter than air? Is wool...heavier than the sun? Is wool...louder than ice? Is wool...softer than rocks? And why?

Making wool pendants (in Kindergarten)

A few weeks ago, I visited Sam's kindergarten. We made wool pendants with 5-6 year old kids in Ms. PDL's class. We talked about how the wool fibers need 3 things to lock into a new shape - soap, water and (gentle but strong) pressure from little hands. The kids LOVED making the wool balls and tried to imagine what they would do if they were wool. Here are a few quick thoughts on how to organize an activity like this in the future:

Kindergarten (Year 5) - super-powered characters and adventures
Ask the students to answer each of these questions and draw the answer...focus on simple lines that express the idea and highlight the material's properties. Where does wool come from? How is it made? What can you make with it? What can wool do? Does wool have a super-power? When does wool need help? Would you want to be friends with wool? What would you do together?

Playing with wool balls (in pre-school)

Yesterday I visited Katie's preschool. We made wool balls with 3-4 year old kids in the Red Room. It was hard to "teach" the science of wool, but they LOVED playing with the wool before and after we give it a secret-super power to change shapes in the soapy water. Here are a few quick thoughts on how to organize an activity like this in the future:

Preschool (Year 3-4) - language and exploration of the real world
Give the kids a piece of wool to hold in their hands and talk while playing with the wool...in soapy water, on the floor, in the air, etc. What does wool sound like? When you drop it? When you roll it? What does wool feel like? When you squeeze it? When you kiss it? What does wool smell like? When it's dry? When it's wet?