I could hear his squeals of delight across a room filled with buzzing school children.
We were at the National Science Museum in the Natural Disasters gallery. It’s one of Jack’s favourites, with volcanoes and earthquakes and a huge crack of lightening every 15 minutes.
However today the Natural Disasters gallery became his new favourite for another reason; the blue fire extinguisher tucked away in the corner.
Jack’s fascination with fire is, I think, our first long term project that Jack has sustained himself through his own interests. Up until now, he has shown an interest in something and I have mostly maintained this interest with different activities, investigations or field-trips.
But this exploration of fire, what it is, what it does, how it feels, how we can control it, is the first one he has taken real control over. He is starting to guide his own learning, with me taking on more of a mentor/support role making sure he has the tools he needs when inspiration strikes.
Today, at the Science Museum, was one such day when I was grateful for those few extra things I take along with us when we head out; his camera and a sketchbook.
After running his hands over every part of the extinguisher, comparing it to red ones, deciding that they had many of the same features, and asking many questions, Jack proudly took a picture of the blue fire extinguisher.
Jack then wanted to know what the writing said on the extinguisher. He also noticed that this extinguisher just had a hose, unlike many of the red ones which have a funnel at the end.
He has so many questions. I love it.
Jack really enjoys drawing and painting. He draws independently everyday, so this painting activity using his photo in the digital frame really appealed to him. However if you don’t have a little painter, maybe your child likes to build or model, or tell stories, or pretend play, or build with blocks, you can still give them an opportunity to investigate their interest further and reinforce their understanding. I think this is what’s important.
This blue fire extinguisher has sparked a whole new line of inquiry – Why are some fire extinguishers red and some blue? And are there any other colours?
I can see this leading into exploring different kinds of fires. Now, I wonder if there’s anyway we could see a fire extinguisher in action…seems Mama has some researching to do.