I put a wanted ad on Freecycle for a working OHP and couldn’t believe my luck when someone responded; a school teacher. For Jack and Sarah, the overhead projector somehow seems magical; how they can manipulate the shadows on the walls, how the shadows dance and play; it’s wonderful.
I first saw light used as a material in this video. I was fascinated and inspired. It was beautiful; wide-eyed children completely engrossed in the magic of light. Light, how it can be manipulated, how it manipulates other materials, is an extraordinary tool for learning and exploring, and seems quintessentially Reggio.
Watching as Jack discovers that leaves appear to change colour when exposed to light is wonderful. Watching him put the leaf on and then take it off again, I can only imagine his internal dialogue as he pieces it all together. Then seeing him connect the leaves and insects on the projector with the silhouettes on the wall, making them move, interact with each other, seeing him draw his own conclusions. It’s pure natural learning.
Overhead Projectors were common place in classrooms here in Australia. But with data projectors, they have been shoved to the back of the resources cupboards. So why not take the chance and see if your local school has one they no longer want, they truly are a wonderful tool for discovery, experimentation, fostering creativity and curiosity…endless possibilities and endless fun. Just don’t tell the school what you plan to do with it or they may just keep it for themselves!