Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Make Way for Ducklings Duplo Challenge

In late summer, I found older copies of Five in a Row, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 at a library in a neighboring town.  Since we love reading and extending what we read here, I thought I'd give officially "rowing" a few books a try.  So much for a few though, we have yet to stop enjoying our first row -- Make Way for Ducklings -- a book we have read before, but never with as much depth, fun and extensions as we have been doing for the past few weeks.  For while, yes, suggested "rows" are but a week long, we seem to be meandering longer with this pick!

Lego Ducks! 

As a side trip in officially rowing Make Way for Ducklings, the children enjoyed building a variety of Lego Duplo ducks using patterns found online as well as their own imagined designs

The step-by-step design patterns we used all came from Building Examples, a site from which I printed out the three available duck pattern pdf’s, as well as one bird one.  I loved this selection since the designs ranged from super-easy ones, which I could make into easy "tray work" to get the kids started with their duck designs, to much more challenging ones, which could inspire more complex creativity.

In a Montessori-inspired way, I slipped print outs of the two easiest designs into a page protector and placed them on a tray with a small bin that contained only the blocks required to complete the designs, thereby ensuring control of error.  The two more complex step-by-step designs I tucked into larger bins of Duplos in the children's open-ended play shelf.  I also searched online for images of other Lego ducks, which the children used as inspiration for building their own designs. 

And what designs they built!   

Extending a Modeled Design with a Pong atop a Castle

Paying it forward, I wanted to include some printable images of my children's designs so that your little ones could use them as patterns.  However, now that I am sitting down to look at the pictures I took, I am having difficult time remembering which of the many Duplo ducks were copied from images that we found online and which were their own amazingly inventive creations.  I know there were more of the latter than the former, but I would hate to credit my kids with something they copied from another child's design.  So, instead of creating a printable, I am simply sharing a few snapshots here of some of the kids' designs.  I hope they inspire your own children to build an enjoy!

Jack's Minimalist Design -- Simply a Head/Beak and Body

Nina's Awesome Creations, One On Its Legs, One Swimming

Luke's Hungry Duck with Open Beak

Learning Connections

As we enjoyed this activity, we naturally wove in lots of "academic" learning.  For example:

  • Sorting and Classifying (Math):  Before beginning our build challenge, we sorted out Duplos by colors and shapes.
  • Science/Anatomy:  We talked about the parts of a duck and how we might represent these in our creations.  (Note tail feathers, wings, feet, open beaks, closed beaks, eyes, etc on the kids' different designs.)
  • Design/Engineering:  We followed models to understand design principles and then imagined and built our own designs, sometimes freely and sometimes with parameters, such as, "Design a swimming duck," or, "Design a duck with all the typical duck parts."
  • Language Arts:  In our home, few things come without some sort of dramatic play and storytelling, and, most certainly our Duplo Ducks were not just build-and-sit projects.  They swam and adventured all over our home. 

Play?  Lessons?  I'd call our Duck Duplo Challenge a hybrid.  The kids?  They'd call it just plain engaging fun!

What extension activities have you enjoyed while rowing Make Way for Ducklings?  Do you have favorite Lego Challenge design sites?  Do share!

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Missy said...

Love it! Thanks for the link to the lego animals too! My kids love LEGO and my youngest, who isn't as good at using LEGO yet loves animals, so this will give her something exciting to do when her brother and sister are busy with their LEGO :) Thank you for sharing!

Martianne said...

Missy, so glad to help! My kids love little Legos, but they still love Duplos, too.

Shannon said...

Love their creations! This is what homeschooling is all about! :)


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