Before I go any further, I have to admit something about this learning moment. Maggie’s beta fish, Lily, passed away the other day and she wanted to bury it. This prompted the making of a fish casket for Lily, so that we could give her a proper burial in the backyard fairy garden. Though she made a casket this time around, she has plans on making a jewelry box with compartments next.
The first thing Maggie had to do was measure Lily, the fish, to see how big of a box she needed to make for her. We spoke about the different dimensions she needed to make in order to make her box 3-D and we determined the differences between length, height, and width. She then drew up her plans and sketched out what she wanted the box to look like. (This took a few tries for her to get what she wanted.) At this time we spoke about how important taking accurate measurements can be to ensure a proper fit and build, when it comes to making simple things like boxes, and more complex things like buildings and space crafts.
Once she had her box all sketched out and was finally pleased with her rough plan, she started measuring and cutting recycled cardboard pieces to match the dimensions she wanted. During this part of the build, Maggie got a little confused on the width of the box. She cut the length and height pieces first and then became stumped when it came to cutting the part of the box that would determine width. (This was a great learning moment!) So we did a little trial and error. She insisted that she would need to cut a certain size rectangle for the top and bottom (3 x 1.5 in. again), so I let her do it. Once she tried to piece it all together she realized that it did not match her desired width dimension of 1 in. Sometimes you have to fail to understand something properly, right?
At this point, it was time for her to put the pieces together. We thought about using a hot glue gun, but decided that she would just tape the box more for extra reinforcement. I really try to not be the decision maker in the kids’ learning moments, because I feel that takes away from the learning process. So, since Maggie wanted to just use tape for reinforcement, that was the ultimate decision. I just helped her hold the pieces together while she did the taping.
Below is the final product of the casket, waiting to have Lily, the fish, placed inside. Maggie also made a plaque that she placed on the box after we sealed it and had it ready for burial. Unfortunately, this is where the natural math lesson ended and her feelings got pretty big, so I did not get a picture of her final product. It was a great learning moment though, that came out of something sad.