Monday, April 18, 2016

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

I've posted before about how much this year's Kinders love to build & create things. They love to make things out of blocks, Lego, Playdoh, paper, dominoes, etc. so I figured that they would be all over a kite making STEM project. And, they were! To prepare for our big Friday afternoon of kite making I checked out books about kites from the public library, bookmarked a bunch of You Tube videos about kites, and even purchased some kites to examine. We used the books & videos to research kite making. The kids used scrap paper to make practice kites, and sketched out plans with their teams all week during playtime. One little cutie even made a trial kite at home and brought it in to discuss with her team.

On Wednesday they met with their teams to build prototypes. Because I was being observed that day I don't have any pictures. But, I have lots of pictures of our construction & test flights.

Watching videos of kite festivals and looking at design books prompted this team to build a bee kite. The kids in each team were assigned a job: recorder ~ responsible for sketching the group's design, materials manager ~ responsible for getting the materials for the group, speaker ~ responsible for presenting the completed kites, teams with four members had a timekeeper who was responsible for keeping the group on task. Everyone was given equal voice in the design & choice of materials.

Once the design was made, the recorder wrote out the list for the materials manager to take to the supply center. I had sent home a letter requesting donations of kite making materials. I was not disappointed! Parents sent in paper lunch bags, plastic garbage bags, tissue paper, foil, cellophane gift wrap, craft sticks, BBQ skewers (with points cut off), drinking straws, lots of (good quality) masking tape, string, and ribbon. The day before we made our kites the kids got to check out the materials so they could start thinking of what they wanted to use.

It took several attempts for some teams to get their frames put together. After we put the kites together we discussed what was the most difficult part to make ~ several teams said that the frame was the most challenging part. This team used straws for their frame.

These girls worked together to create a butterfly kite. Their collaboration was great! They used straws & BBQ skewers for their frame. 

These cuties really took this project seriously ~ they spent the week planning and discussing their kite design. After we flew our kites outside their kite was pretty ripped up. I asked the kids what they would do differently if they were going to make a new kite. They decided that while the colorful cellophane was pretty it wasn't sturdy enough. I left the kite making materials out this week & told the kids they can make another kite this week if they want to try to make a new one using what they learned from their first attempt. Not surprisingly, these girls are working on a new design.

You can see the foil in the tub that they first tried to use as their frame. It was fun to watch the kids try different things as they worked. I cautioned them not to waste materials, and they didn't. Of course lots of things needed to be tossed, but not in a wasteful way. I wanted them to feel free to experiment, and we had a great supply of materials so we didn't run out. 

The counter behind these guys served as our supply center. The materials managers brought their teams' tubs to collect the items on their lists. I helped them the first time they stocked up on supplies, but after that they were free to get what they needed as they worked.

These boys used a plastic garbage bag for their kite sail & a combination of BBQ skewers & straws for the frame. Their kite was really simple in design, but flew really well.

The speakers got to present their kites to the class. We ran out of time for this part of the project last week, so we shared & flew them today. If you want to try this activity be sure to plan for more time than you think you will need. The kids were pretty disappointed when we didn't get to try the kites Friday. But, as it turned out today was an unbelievably warm & sunny day (83 degrees in April is a gift!).

This team used lots of ribbon and part of a TP tube as their handle. 

I love this team's handle ~ the little designer is explaining how his handle is a ring made of folded paper that will fit on your wrist for "hands-free" kite flying. When hearing that this design left your hands free one cutie quipped, "You could text when you fly your kite!"

We went outside to try out our kites right after lunch (which was perfect because no one else was on the playground at that time). The kids were so happy to have the entire soccer field to ourselves! They were so good about taking turns flying the kites. I took a bunch of pictures, but because they were moving so fast only a couple of them turned out. 

This was such a fun & educational project! With only 31 days left in this school year and a school-wide "Cardboard Day" coming up in May I'm not sure if I'll have time to plan another STEM day. But, then again I do have to keep Kinders engaged for 31 more days, so maybe I will. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! These kites really turned out nicely! So much fun! I love when kids can get outside!


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