Contextual writing and mark making

Dragons, magic, myths, C is thoroughly enjoying this topic.   Just as he predicted!  We have previously used Harry Potter as a theme for maths, where both boys enjoyed creating potions and measuring liquid.  I’ve needed to find creative ways to use dragons now as our stimulus. This week we have set about solving some dragon problems, set in an algebra  context.  It was an activity I found online – he had to crack the code and work out what number each dragon represented.  Unfortunately I printed it some time ago and closed the link so I can’t link here.  It lead to some good systematic thinking though!

We have read the story of George and the Dragon and  will be following this with some open ended problem solving where C has to group the animals being sacrificed for the dragon.  So for example, the horses are grouped into groups of 4, there are 20.  How many groups?  What if grouped into fives… And so on.  It went on to remainders and 3 or 3 step problems.  A valuable learning process that wasn’t necessarily about the result the process and the discussion to try to work it out.

The writing generated from the small world play outside has extended and evolved as he has now incorporated aspects of George and the Dragon into the next ‘chapter’.  Reading has such an impact on writing.  That’s one of the reasons it is so important to encourage an early love of books!  I will try to post a picture of the complete story.  For 4 year old mark making we made signs for the tray.  There is also an arrow sign for St George to direct him to the princess, we didn’t get a picture of that one.

George took a lead role in the dragon swamp play at the end of the week too.  Out he rushed to save a princess.  Only to discover that we have no female figures.  Poor lego Hermione had to be a stand in!  C did comment that she was rather small but we incorporated this into the play and the dragon’s breath reduced her to a bite size meal for one!

You can see that the cave design has been revised from the last set of photos.  The boys naturally evaluated and improved based on the previous play / design.  It was agreed that the cave didn’t go far back enough the first time.  This led to lots of early mathematical language for L too as he worked out sizes, making good estimations of what would fit where.  All in all a lot of valuable learning from a very simple outdoor activity.

We have made the most of the spring weather and nature learning this week.  We have assembled our small bee house that came with our Kew Garden seeds and the wild seeds have been sown close by, alongside some nettles that we are going to leave in order to attract bees and butterflies.  Our caterpillars from insect lore should arrive any day now and we are looking forward to observing their cycle of change.

In preparation for close observation of the butterflies I have been teaching the boys how to observe scientifically, and record on a table of results.  They received a ‘Triop World‘ for christmas and we have made daily observations as they grow.  To my surprise they are surviving.  Unlike the plants in my garden!  So that’s good news!

I love the accuracy of these drawings.  Look how they increase in size on the left!  We have giant Triops!!