Project Marco

This month’s podcast is all about engaging our children’s minds – creating opportunities for children to get involved in what they are learning with all parts of their body and mind. We have project based learning all around us – inside our home and outside our home. The podcast was an opportunity for me to learn something new. As I listened I enjoyed recalling a time with my own children where we unknowingly used project based learning!

Enter Marco. I have 3 girls. We like bugs. And spiders. We found Marco in a warehouse and created a lovely terrarium for Marco to live in. Marco was a large Wolf Spider. Marco seemed happy with us. We spent hours together researching what Marco ate and drank, what other Marco’s may look like, just researching everything we could about Wolf Spiders.

Within days Marco created an ‘egg sac’. We pondered renaming Marco, Martha, but decided that in the spider world Marco could have an egg sac. We also “hypothesized” when that egg sac would open and how fast I would need to get that terrarium OUTSIDE when it did. We were so engrossed in our project that we even took Marco on a weekend trip to grandpa and grandma’s house.

Luckily we did because the egg sac opened that weekend and hundreds of the cutest little spiders scampered out of the egg sac while the terrarium was perched on the back steps (whew!). We spent several moments watching them scurry & race about. Then one of the girls remembered something we discovered during our research. Once the egg sac opens the adult spider dies. Sure enough there was Marco snuggled in the leaves at the bottom of the terrarium, lifeless. Our project was complete. Or was it? Our Marco project was over 5 years ago, and it still creates lively conversations and sharing of memories. It continues to be a hands-on experience my children can relate to as they learn about scientific theory and life cycles in school.

What are some ‘projects’ that your family has done? How has your families involvement in those projects shaped your child’s learning (or even yours!)?

Lori Korthals, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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