The students were given the task of working with their family in locating objects that they thought were beautiful in their local environment. The materials could not be bought, but rather found at home or on a walk. Each student was given a brown paper bag in which to place their “beautiful stuff”. As each bag was returned to class, the anticipation of what was inside was growing among the students! Finally the day arrived when the grand spill was going to take place. Before we started, Mrs. Ralph asked the students:
“What makes something beautiful?”
“You can make something out of it.” G.M.
“It’s shiny.” A.P.
“String because you can make smiley faces with it.” E.S.
“If it’s shiny and you can make stuff with it.” A.M.
“It’s sparkly.” P.I.
“You can make flowers with stuff.” N.S.
“You can make your family out of it.” C.D.
“When you find something shiny.” A.T.
“What now? What can we do with our beautiful mess?” Mrs. Ralph
The students had many great answers!
They thought that we had so much beautiful stuff in one pile, we couldn’t find anything!
“Let’s sort it!” E.S.
“How can we do this?” Mrs. Ralph
“We can look through it and put things into small groups that are the same.” A.M.
Over the next few days, the students worked in small groups and started creating categories for things that were similar.
We also started reading many wonderful books about using our imagination and creating things using found materials.
Here are a few of the first creations made. More to come!
Stay tuned as many more creations are made using our beautiful stuff!
The Rationale of the Project
“To a young child, the world is full of materials to touch, discover, and explore. To find, collect, sort, and use materials is to embark on a special kind of adventure.”
From the introduction to: "Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials" by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini
Creating a collection of Beautiful Stuff will allow the children to think about the materials around them more deeply, and all of the ways that materials can be used to create and to express ideas and knowledge. Children will collaborate, share, sort, experiment, build, think, write, draw, paint, and invent, all through using the materials that we gather together and share with one another.