As the class cleaned out and explored the raised garden beds on their playground, they realized that soil would be an interesting topic to further explore.
To kick off the project, each preschooler shared stories related to soil from their own perspective and the class collected their wonderings in a soil web of words to start building their collective knowledge base. These questions became a guiding map for the entire project, adding their learnings from each other and from guest experts to the word web.
Throughout the project, the class engaged with field experiences and learned from guest experts from around the community to continue building their knowledge. On a series of soil observation hikes around Duke School’s campus, these researchers collected soil samples from four different locations with the help of their teachers to bring back to the classroom for a closer investigative look. Applying their learnings from an environmental science guest expert, these students documented their observations about which sample came from which soil layer, noting color and consistency.
An important foundation of project work, observational drawings allowed these researchers to closely examine, describe, and illustrate tools and materials relevant to their project topic of soil. The group created a soil habitat in their classroom, applying what they learned about soil layers. After painting the habitat, they created worms other animals to live in their creation. From guest experts who are artists, they learned how to make bowls out of clay and paint illustrations of soil layers.
In preparation for their culmination, these Soil Experts are working on visual representations of their knowledge to share with their families at home.During morning centers, they practiced sharing each phase of their project, from their wonderings and web to their investigations and representations, with other members of the Duke School community. Each soil expert will then walk their families through each project phase, sharing both their own studies and those of their classmates.
Special thank you to our resident Duke School Soil Experts and preschool teachers for sharing their project!