Spinners and Movement Inquiry

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The following clip will give you a glimpse of what emerged within our classroom:

What started out as creative magnet play turned into an exploration of spinners and motion.  The more we listened the more we understood that our young researchers had a lot of prior knowledge.  They were coming to school with experiences playing with Beyblade spinner toys and Lego Ninjago spinner toys.

We used this interest to improve upon their drawing, writing, oral communication, media literacy and higher-order thinking skills.

Curriculum Links:

Big Idea: Children are effective communicators.

1. communicate by talking and by listening and speaking to others for a variety of purposes and in a variety of contexts;

  • 1.2 listen and respond to others for a variety of purposes (e.g., to exchange ideas, express feelings, and offer opinions) in a variety of contexts (e.g., while in imaginary or exploratory play)
  • 1.5 use language in various contexts to connect new experiences with what they already know (e.g., contribute ideas orally, contribute to conversations, respond to teacher prompts)
  • 1.6 use language to talk about their thinking, to reflect, and to solve problems

4. communicate in writing, using strategies that are appropriate for beginners;

  • 4.1 demonstrate an interest in writing and choose to write in a variety of contexts (e.g., draw or record ideas at learning centres)
  • 4.2 demonstrate an awareness that writing can convey ideas or messages 
  • 4.3 write simple messages, using a combination of pictures, symbols, knowledge of the correspondence between letters and sounds (phonics), and familiar words
  • 4.5 experiment with a variety of simple writing forms for different purposes and in a variety of contexts

5. demonstrate a beginning understanding and critical awareness of media texts;

  • 5.1 begin to respond critically to animated works
  • 5.2 communicate their ideas verbally and non-verbally about a variety of media materials

The students created a book to help Ms. Babalis
understand more about Lego Ninjago.

Image from a Beyblade commercial we viewed.

Ms. Babalis: Why might this commercial have been made?
G.G.: They wanted children to like it! (5.5 years)
R.L.: Because it's very fun!  You get to spin it. (5.6 years)

Ms. Babalis: Why might they have added fire to the commercial?
T.M.: To make it look like it's on fire, because it goes very fast! (5.8 years)
L.N.: Because they wanted kids to think it was cool. (5.5 years)

Ms. Babalis: If something is "cool," why is this important to kids?  What will they want to do?
L.N.: Want to buy it! (5.5 years)

The students are now interested in creating a Lego
Ninjago village, and prefer using the light table.

"Research shows that human beings
are born with an innate desire to explore,
experiment, and imagine new
possibilities--in a word, to innovate"
(Wagner, 2012, p. 26).

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for the next steps of our inquiry, we would love for you to leave us a comment below.  (If you are not a member of Blogger, just select "anonymous.")


  1. I like your work very much! I have a couple of questions so I can understand the way you work better. You give the kids the material and they play and you observe them right? Do you interfere more in their work and guide them and how is that working?

  2. Thanks Maro!

    We provoke our students with materials and questions. During the initial time of exploration we don't like to interfere, and make many observation notes of what they are saying, doing, and representing.

    As the learning progresses, we have more conversations with the students to get a better understanding of their thinking. The documentation notes, photos, and work samples, guide us to plan our next steps.

  3. Tell me more about your 'light table' It looks fascinating-what is it's purpose? How do you use it/introduce it?

  4. Hi,

    The light table is used as follows:

    1) Water colour paintings
    2) Colour experiments
    3) Building and creative expression with natural materials
    4) Tracing pictures
    5) Creating stories or dramatic play
    6) Displaying learning
    7) Math exploration-patterning, sorting, etc.

    And the list could go on!!

    A light table similar to a mirror, allows children to see regular materials in a more intriguing way.

    I introduce the light table, as it becomes appropriate to our learning. Otherwise, I have it open for student exploration with natural materials in our Science and Discovery learning area.

    Hope that this helps!

  5. Hi Joanne...I hope you don't mind, but I have posted a photo of you as well as a link to this blog post, on my blog www.fulldayfantastic.blogspot.ca. LOVE your blog!!!!

    1. Hi,

      No problem! What an honour! Thank you!!

      I appreciate being included in your blog post and am about to visit it now...


      Joanne Babalis

  6. Hi again,

    Kylie I was unable to open your blog. Is it possible that there is a typo in the above url?

  7. It says I need an invitation to see your blog. Love to if you don't mind.