It all started at the beginning of the school year, as students in Jennifer Hardison’s Preschool class expressed an interest in learning more about kites.
Aligned with the Preschool’s approach of extending learning through children’s own interests, Mrs. Hardison helped her students research different types of kites, how to construct them and what purpose they’ve served in history.
Meanwhile, in Kristina Taylor’s grade 9 world history class, the Knowledge Revolution was being studied and specifically how Europeans developed knowledge through experience and inquiry following the Middle Ages.
A cross-divisional connection was a perfect way for both classes to make their studies more meaningful. So the kite project in the Preschool became a cross-divisional activity with Upper School history students.
“The idea behind building kites with the Preschool students was to better understand the Knowledge Revolution and have our freshmen experience learning through the eyes of someone who is still developing their foundational knowledge,” Mrs. Taylor said.
Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Hardison brought their classes together several times throughout the school year to expand their learning and form new friendships. The older students helped create simple kites and observed closely as the Preschoolers tested different additions to their kites, like a Lego figurine, and expressed their conclusions on how they impacted the kite’s ability to fly.
“This adhered to the Preschool’s focus on cross-cutting science concepts of both cause and effect and form and function,” Mrs. Hardison said. “The children also investigated forces such as wind and gravity, as well as speed, as they ran as fast as they could to get their kites to fly.”
The Upper School students were careful observers, and asked questions to further understand the Preschool Tartans’ thought process. The two classes met for the final time this week as they worked together to create more sophisticated kites and fly them on Chalmers Field.
The collaboration was a fun, joyous way to connect students from different divisions, yet it also enhanced the learning of both the Preschool students figuring out how the world works, and Upper School students learning more about the acquisition of knowledge.
“The freshmen expressed an understanding of how young children learn,” Mrs. Taylor said, “and then connected it to how the majority of Europe’s population was learning in a similar way during the Knowledge Revolution.”