06 August 2013

"Nope! That cathedral certainly ain't made of play-dough!"

One of my favorite "jobs" this past year working at Sahel Academy
was facilitating exploratory learning with a group of advanced 2nd and 3rd graders.

I think I've shared that in this space before.

Our last project of the year was, I believe, my absolute favorite.

The kids learned that to build a solid foundation, sometimes you have to dig deep and remove lots of rocks first.

They experienced how teamwork makes things that look impossible, possible.

They discovered that thinking about the objective sometimes helps you come up with a better way to accomplish that goal.

They saw that there's often more than one way to solve a problem.

They learned to be creative with what was available.

And they dug in the sand and dirt, got sweaty and filthy, played with cement, made play and stacked play dough bricks, "discovered" bamboo reinforced play dough, built flying buttresses, arched windows and talked about how they'd create "stained glass" windows...

...all as they attempted to build their own cathedral. 

Alas, time got away from us... 

We ran into a few snafus (i.e. our cement wasn't a very good mortar for our homemade bricks), unbelievable hot (120' +) made working outside in the afternoons on the hill and in the sun very uncomfortable, a couple of shortened sessions due to end of the year activities, and Mrs. Wright's crazy schedule working over at the high school...

So we didn't finish our cathedral.

But we did get to take Jonathan to see a real one while passing through Paris!

He thought that was pretty super cool!

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