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steph928 08-04-2010 06:31 AM

Student-Directed Centers
I am looking for center ideas that are student-directed, allowing them to explore and discover on their own, rather than specifically task-based.
I am planning on doing a lot of inquiry and project-based learning with my gifted first grade class this year.

One example is a "Take Apart" center. The idea is to put out some kind of machine (ie. old toaster oven, telephone, etc.) with tools and let the kids actually open it up, take it apart, explore the different parts that are inside and how they are connected. Then there is also the option of using the pieces found inside to create something new. Of course I would check inside first just to be sure there is nothing sharp. I think it sounds like a lot of fun and would really attract those children with creative and inventive minds.

Thanks for any other ideas!

MrsSusko 08-05-2010 11:44 AM

Put out some 1.5 volt light bulbs, wires with gator clips, D-batteries, and switches. The students can try to put them together to get the bulb to light!

anansi 08-05-2010 05:16 PM

We have a cool place in town called Art from Scrap that gets lots of junk from all over the place. One thing I've found is collect lots of colored wires (like the ones you'd find inside electrical things - red, yellow, blue, white, etc.) The kids can use them to create sculptures of whatever they like. They can draw them and even write about them if they want. Or YOU want. If you want to get terribly fancy, let them (or you do it) take a picture and hang them all up on the board when everyone has made at least one. If you do it as they create, they tend to copy other people over and over.

Bertie B 08-09-2010 03:25 AM

Take apart center
Just a thought on this center, you could also use it as the "invention" center, maybe put up an easy timeline of when it was invented (before all the technology today). You could use pictures with words on it for first graders.

I used to have kids take VCR's apart and old phones. It was interesting for them to do that so go with it. I would have to check now, though, to see what kinds of metal, mercury etc. is in each piece of equipment. The kids will love it. Good idea.

steph928 08-10-2010 07:04 PM

Thanks for all the ideas! I am going to try freecycle to get some things to take apart.

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