Topsy Turvy in Rathfarham, Session 5

Upside down and two by two we lined up all of the yellow chairs in the middle of the classroom before the children arrived. No desks and upside down chairs sparked interest in many of the other teachers that popped their heads in to see what we were up too. For session 5 we were going to do some construction on a big scale. My own work involves building on very large scales and I find that by providing the children with materials to build on a very scale triggers their imagination and offers a new challenge as it demands teamwork.

The session started with a tunnel build which allowed the children to understand the mechanics of the materials, 2 metre foam piping and an insight to building structures. The children crawled through the tunnel we asked them to imagine where they were as each part of the tunnel was covered with different coloured see through fabric.

Following the deconstruction of the tunnel the class of 30 children was divided into 5 small groups. Each group was allocated a number of upturned chairs and a desk, several 2 metre lengths of piping and tape and invited to build their own ‘den’. This demanded much negotiating as the children had lots of individual ideas but needed to work together. We watched and listened to the children as they discussed, compromised and came to their decisions of how and what they were going to build. Once the structures got their quality approved sticker and fabric coverings the children ate their lunch inside their ‘dens‘ and ‘domes ’.

I had underestimated how involved the children would become in the decorating process. We extended the session to allow the children to create the world that existed inside their ‘dens’ and ‘domes’. Using quite basic dry art materials we watched the imaginative worlds unfold though ideas of St. Patrick played a part in all of their worlds.

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