With Playology, we are trying to get kids to use active play as a tool for their learning. Are there any things that you do in class where the children are learning things using their bodies or through physical actions?
We use games all the time because it makes our lessons seem more like play, which children are more receptive to. They don’t like to just sit still all the time and be talked at. For example, say you were doing something about diet, and you were talking about things that are good for you and things that are bad. In the past you might have had a worksheet, and you would have had sweeties, and maybe pears, and apples, and a stick of rock and you would put a line to ‘Bad for you’ or ‘good for you’. Instead of that you could have all your kids, you could have about 40 kids, outside in the playground, and the thing is ‘if its good for you’, you run around. So if I say… French beans, or Chicken, they keep on running. As soon as I say something like Meringues, they would all sit down. Then I say fish, they all stand up again and start running. You’re covering two bases there, you as the teacher can see who’s not sure about the question as they will be looking around for clues, but the other kids aren’t paying any attention to this as they are too focused on the game, plus their all exercising which is good.
Yeah these kind of activities could be really useful to us! We want to design an activity that the kids can do which will teach them about the process of digestion. We have been looking at it as kind of a journey or obstacle course they could go on and by mimicking the actions of the food as it passes through the body they would be able to learn a bit about it. They could have some sort of activity they could complete after that would explain things maybe? What do you think could work for this?
Whats the process? Break it down for me?
Well it starts off with chewing, then they would go into the oesophagus which is swallowing which is a kind of wave like motion, then into the stomach where the food gets mixed up and processed, then the intestines where things are absorbed into the blood, then the rectum where the waste all comes out… We have been looking at the movements associated with each and thinking of ways we can recreate these physically…
Ok so chewing, that’s hard, could you have some sort of trampoline or a set of stepping stones they could go over to be like teeth…? Not sure about that one but for the swallowing you could have a sort of under over action where there are things they have to climb over and then something to go under so they’re physically getting their bodies through, you could definitely do that. What was the next bit?
The next part is the stomach which we’ve kind described as a a food processer where everything gets mixed together.
Ok so you could have some sort of circular motion they make… what about a hula hoop? Or you get these boards that the kids stand on and they wobble… I think their called wobble boards…?
Ok what else is there?
And then it’s the intestines which is a bit harder because its where the vitamins and nutrients and everthing get absorbed into the bloodstream. We were thinking of maybe having some sort of wall or object that you had to throw balls of nutrients or vitamins into...
I think if it was me I wouldn’t want to use balls I would want it to be them going through! So you’ve gone through your teeth and down your oesophagus which you could do with bits of wood or what ever, one smaller one bigger and been mixed up in your stomach on the wobble boards, then they can go through something…. Maybe they could have something on them that they have to discard, like a band…
We were thinking of making some sort of coats that they could wear that have bits that zip off which they drop off along the way like check points or something.
I think just bands because your going to have to keep things simple because your not going tot have the money for it… but you could easily make up little bands that they wear around them and they have to discard the bad as they go through the intestines so they are dropping off the good bits of the food?
You’ve got to find the right space for this too, your talking about a school gym or somewhere where there is a lot of equipment already there so that you guys can design the activity and it could take place anywhere?
I mean we are imagining doing it in a public space somewhere and having it more as an event or activities day that people can turn up to but it would actually be really nice to have it as an exercise that we created that can be transported to schools anywhere.
Well if you modelled it around pre existing playground equipment that would be great for teachers because schools just don’t have the money for these kinds of things. You will also need to think about simple things like the surface you will be working on, if its tarmac its not great as kids get injured more easily but if you had access to a gym you would have mats. These are all things you need to think about when your planning it. It sounds good though! I want to do it!
But you have got to keep in mind, you’ve got no resources and before you do anything you need to find out what the school your visiting has available.
I mean we are hoping to raise a bit of money and because we are coming from an art school environment and we are illustrators we want to make it have some sort of visual relevance in a way…I know designing the workshop is creative in itself but we also wanted to bits and pieces like gloves with teeth or the tunnels…
Yeah ok I see what you mean I suppose from a teachers point of view we get all these books where we see such lovely things and we think ‘yeah that would be great to use’ but the schools just cant afford them!
Do you think generally the idea would be interesting for the kids though?
Yeah they’ll love that! You’d need to have a bit of an introduction and explanation of what its all about so they can use their imaginations a bit.