Project Work

Preschool Wheels Project

PHASE 1
Beginning the Project

Our project began after the Head of School came to our class and read The Little Engine That Could. At project meeting, our class realized that several books we read recently included things with wheels. So we began our exploration of “Things with Wheels”. The children told stories about their experiences of things with wheels (see attached Phase 1 stories). They also made memory drawings of things with wheels. The children helped generate a very long list of things that have wheels. Teachers used this to make a project web (see Memory Drawings). 

PHASE 2
Developing the Project

We found things in our environment that were wheels. We took a walk around our campus and took pictures of all the wheels we found. We saw a tire swing, a pizza cart, a scooter, cars, and a “really big truck” (it had 14 wheels)! We came back talked about our observations and represented them. We examined balls and wheels and talked about the difference. We learned a new vocabulary word, ‘sphere.’ We read lots of fiction and nonfiction books about things with wheels.

In Blocks and Building Sets, teachers added wheels and axles. We also added ramps, and students experimented with vehicles on ramps.

The students began noticing wheels all over their environment. They collected “tree disks” on the playground. They noticed wheels in their snacks-pasta, cheerios, and pretzels. Children explored all of these items to determine if they rolled. 

Field Work: We went to the Lanier Wilkins home for a Wheel Parade. They had 37 things with wheels, lined up from smallest to largest. The children used magnifying glasses, clipboards, papers and markers to make observational drawings and tire rubbings. We posted these when we came back to the room. We even made flip-books. 

We had a number of guest experts visit our class. Joe and Mary brought a race car to school! Joe explained all about his car while the children made observational drawings. Each child had a turn sitting in the racecar. 

PHASE 3
Concluding the Project

To conclude our project, we invited parents to our class for a Wheel Celebration. We sang songs, showed them the vehicles we constructed, and taught them lots about wheels. We even ate food that looked like wheels-donuts, bagels, and a cake shaped like a tire!
We ended our project with a wheel parade. 

Developed by Julie Fox and Carrie McQuaig at Duke School 
Kathy Bartelmay, Curriculum Director
© 2013 Duke School 

Wheels Project Downloads

 3716 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27705  
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