by Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey
As part of my IHVO Certificate Course, I realised an idea that I had been carrying around with me for a while: I founded the „Power Girls´ Club“ with the eight oldest girls of our kindergarten. If you follow the link, you can read about the framework, the objectives and the evaluation of the project. You will also find information about further club lessons and about my observation child Lina. (During the Certificate Course we had the task of observing a presumably particularly gifted child especially intensively).
In the club, the girls were supposed to gain experience of what it’s like to be able to go on a discovery tour only with girls.
Our first topic, which spanned five club hours, was:
What is a power girl?
This article now describes the 6th club hour, in which we did a science experiment. We had one and a half hours to do it.
6th club lesson
After I have worked out with the girls in the previous offers which characteristics and abilities a „power girl“ needs and has on a physical level, I would like to deepen their knowledge even more in the next step.
As I have not yet identified the girls‘ areas of interest in detail (apart from movement in any form), I am orienting my next offers to the current topic in our kindergarten. It is: „Feel how it tastes“, and it is about healthy nutrition.
The children have been learning about fruits and vegetables in various offerings, so I will do an experiment on this with my club to deepen the girls‘ knowledge.
I will briefly review why it was so important for us to look at the brain, bones and joints and clearly visible muscles.
Then, as an introduction to the topic of nutrition, I will ask the question:
„By what do we maintain our health, keep our strength and live at all?“
The question refers to external conditions, such as healthy nutrition, good living conditions, intact environment.
At the point „healthy nutrition“ I will make reference to the topic in the group. My idea is that the group will recall their already existing knowledge on the topic and bring it to the club. Since they have been talking about vegetables, I am sure they will mention carrots, especially because raw carrots are very popular with our children.
This is the lead-in to my experiment with the carrot.
Experiment: „Where does the carrot get its colour?“
(According to: Gisela Lück, Leichte Experimente für Eltern und Kinder. Herder spektrum, pages 35-37. You can also read the exact explanation there).
I put all the materials on the table and discuss them with the children.
Then I explain to them what we are going to do with it today, and I also immediately begin to carry out the experiment.
During the experiment, I explain what we are doing and why we are doing it this way and involve the girls with specific questions. They should be active participants and not just carry out something according to my instructions.
It is important to me that they can understand all the steps well and that they think about why we are doing this.
I am responsible for providing the background knowledge.
After the experiment, the girls are supposed to draw the procedure of the experiment and thereby deepen what they have realised.
Only four of the eight girls are present. This is actually quite favourable for carrying out our experiment.
They are curious about what we are going to do today. We are not – as usual – in the gym, and materials are provided that do not really indicate what we want to do:
1 carrot, water,
preferably colourless cooking oil,
4 small jars (one for each girl),
4 teaspoons, 1 grater,
1 kitchen alarm clock.
The girls try to guess as they enter the room. Melisa says, „We are going to bake a cake.“ I ask them to find a place at the table because we want to talk to each other first.
Lina and Greta listen quietly to my questions, while Melisa and Laura keep making new suggestions about what we could do. They come up with ideas like baking, cooking soup or just eating. After they calm down, we share with each other what is important for our health. In the process, they share their knowledge about fruits and vegetables. We get to the minerals and vitamins very rapidly.
So I quickly get my start and we get started with our experiment.
The carrot is rubbed and filled into the jars so that the bottom is covered in each case. Then each girl pours water into her glass until the water is about 2 cm above the bottom of the glass. Now they have to stir vigorously for at least 1 minute. As it is easy to make a mistake about how long a minute is when stirring hard, everyone starts together with the kitchen alarm clock.
We take a close look at the carrot-water mixture and notice that the water has taken on a slight colour.
Then each girl puts 5 tablespoons of the cooking oil into her jar, the kitchen alarm clock is set to 1 minute again and everyone stirs vigorously.
They work well together doing this and have no problems passing the grater or the oil around so that everyone can get at it.
While watching the mixture, they are calm and concentrated and wait for my questions. It seems to be exciting for all of them to see what else is going on. In other situations – except for Lina – they all like to talk and usually don’t have much patience and want to share their thoughts immediately.
I approach Lina first and she describes our mixture in detail:
„When we added the oil, it turned all orange.“
Melisa thinks it would be more red, but Lina insists that there is yellow in the colour besides red.
Everyone wants to try this carrot mixture. It doesn’t taste very good to them, but they all try it several times and shake themselves. They expected this mixture to taste like our raw carrot food for lunch. So I explain to them the other ingredients in our salad. They find this interesting and now want to eat it even more because the vitamin beta-carotene is so important for their skin and protects them from too much light.
I then set the task of painting the experiment. Lina responds by saying, „I’ll draw what we did!“ She rarely expresses herself so spontaneously. Now she starts immediately and is the only one who draws the course without making the reference that the carrot grows in the ground. Lina separates her general knowledge about the carrot and does exactly the newly set task.
Melisa, Laura and Greta paint the carrot in the ground, because they have learned this assignment with the whole group and this knowledge seems important to them. They paint the other materials after looking at Lina’s picture. (I cannot say how they would have painted without Lina’s picture).
Lina draws a big carrot, the grater, the oil bottle, the sieve for sieving the water-oil-carrot mixture at the end of the experiment and the glass with the remaining liquid.
The oil has separated from the water again and has turned a reddish colour from the carrot.
Lina depicts the water as an even surface and paints the fat globules over it. She does not orientate herself to the other girls, she does look at the others‘ pictures from time to time and seems to be a little pensive about whether her picture is right. She also looks at me and I nod at her and praise her.
I also acknowledge the others and, in support, also ask in general what else we needed in our experiment and what we observed.
With this offer, I can observe well that Lina understands the tasks exactly and implements them independently.
She looks thoughtful when she briefly interrupts her work and seems to observe the group and consider whether everything she is doing is right.
She therefore sometimes needs a little more time than the other girls, who often also comment on what they are going to do or are doing.
During all the offers for the Power Girls‘ Club so far, I could observe that Lina worked on all the tasks very quickly, concentrated, independently and creatively.
The other girls did not even notice the meditative music I put on. Lina is very interested in music, she always notices music immediately and also expresses whether she likes it. Most of the time she likes it, so she says, „That’s nice music,“ and I answer her, „Yes, I like it very much too, it’s music by Kitaro.“ Lina nods and continues working, Greta has overheard this and nods in agreement.
When Greta and Lina have finished, they can choose whether they want to go back to the group already or whether they want to stay with us some more. Both of them want to wait and paint, which is a reason for Laura and Melisa to hurry, as they also want to paint an additional picture. After one and a half hours we clean up together.
Read more about Lina:
Date of publication in German: 2013, March
Copyright © Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey, see imprint.