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Eggs, Nests & Animal Architects | Play Based Maths, Science & Engineering

Explore the astonishing maths, science and engineering of bird, bee and insect, dinosaur, crocodile and other animal nests in this half-semester storytelling and hands-on weaving, drawing, sculpting, construction, design & play-based class | Neurodiverse Inclusive.
Alice Campbell MTeach (PreK - Yr 2), MPlayTherapy
173 total reviews for this teacher
6 reviews for this class
Completed by 23 learners
40 minutes
per class
Once per week
over 5 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

How Outschool Works

Available Times

This teacher may live in a different time zone.
๐Ÿ”ฅ This class is in high demand! 3 of 63 classes have sold out.

Available Times

This teacher may live in a different time zone.
๐Ÿ”ฅ This class is in high demand! 3 of 63 classes have sold out.
There are no open spots for this class, but you can request another time or scroll down to find more classes like this.


Class Experience

This class is taught in English.
The intended learning outcomes for this class are aligned with the Australian and UK early years curricula. They are also consistent with the preschool/ early years curricula for NZ, China, Korea, and most European countries. This class utilises the Michigan Essential Literacy Practices Framework, and the Mathematics Learning Trajectories. 


1. I can explore the purpose and function of materials, sounds and properties (such as shape, texture, and temperature), and I can manipulate resources to investigate, take apart, assemble, invent and construct the functions of these things. 
2. I can make predictions and generalisations about different environments, and communicate these using language, gestures, numbers, and symbols.
3. I can explore, infer, predict, and hypothesise in order to develop an increased understanding of the environment and my relationship to it. 

1. What makes something a home?
2. What do you think is the most important part of a nest? 
3. How do animals know what sort of nest to build? 

~ Animals are adapted to a particular ecology.
~ Engineering involves designing something to solve a problem. 
~ The structure of something influences its function. 
~ Nests are a way that animals engineer solutions to specific problems in their environment. 

~ Counting.
~ Subitising.
~ Comparing number.
~ Adding/ subtracting.
~ Composing numbers.
~ Patterns, structure and algebraic thinking.
~ 2D shapes.
~ Composing 2D shapes.
~ Disembedding shapes.
~ 3D shapes.
~ Composing 3D shapes.
~ Spatial visualisation and imagery.
~ Spatial orientation. 
~ Measurement (length).
~ Measurement (area).
~ Measurement (angle and turn).

This class will provide a setting for children to develop and practice their vocabulary and speech relating to the content, concepts, and activities we are exploring. The words we will be using will include nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. 

โ€‹Vocabulary (or knowledge of words) includes understanding their structure (morphology), use (grammar) and meanings (semantics). It also includes understanding how one word links to other words (word/semantic relationships). Oral and aural vocabulary skills (or, for non-speaking children, visual vocabulary skills) are absolutely crucial to later development of literacy decoding and reading comprehension and fluency. 

Because this is such an important skill gained in early childhood, I use a strong evidence-based and developmentally appropriate approach to vocabulary and speech development. This includes: 

๐—˜๐˜…๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐—ฉ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐——๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป
Explicit vocabulary discussion means that, in this class we not only use words, but we may also sometimes talk about them. We might discuss, for example:
~ what does this word mean?
~ what words would communicate what we want? 
~ what other words can we use for this?

While these discussions are explicit, they are not a discrete part of our classes or delivered as a "lesson". Instead, we weave these into our organic discussions while we play, create and tell stories. I do not choose or have a "list" of specific words that children "must" learn. My approach is to respond to children's interests by offering explicit vocabulary discussion that is purposeful, and which helps each child engage with their goals, interests and motivations. This means that children are developing their vocabulary (and self-awareness of it) in a meaningful, relevant and active way. 

๐—˜๐˜…๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป
While it may seem "efficient" to get children to memorise, or rote learn, words - this approach has been shown to have no real value in speech/ language development generally, including vocabulary development. Rather, evidence confirms that the critical requirement for strong vocabulary and speech development is sufficient opportunity for children to engage in meaningful, two-way conversations that are interesting to them. 

To provide this for your child, I maintain very small class sizes and a child-led approach to learning. This ensures that each child has many opportunities to "chat" and "talk" with me and other learners throughout this class about the things that have captured their interest or that they are discovering. I focus on finding opportunities within these conversations to not only introduce new vocabulary, but to also extend and stretch each child's confidence in using and understanding vocabulary in speech. 
I hold a Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) and have specialist skills in designing immersive education programs for young children, birth to age 8. I am a former member of Mensa.
There is no homework in this class. However, children may wish to continue working on their projects after class. I will also provide a handout after each class with suggestions for (optional) activities, play and art to extend children's off-screen learning and interests between sessions.  

Children will need assistance to prepare and set-up prior to each session. This will typically take 5 - 10 minutes for most sessions.  
ย 1ย file available upon enrollment
Materials needed for each session will vary. ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ - ๐—ช๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ ๐Ÿญ ~ paper ~ glue poured into a dish (white/ pva/ Elmers is best), plus a brush for applying the glue ~ 4 - 5 different types lose materials for collage (use what you have on hand - colourful paper scraps, leaves, bits of string/ ribbon, buttons, cotton balls, grass clippings, rice - pretty much anything goes!) ~ a pen/ pencil ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ - ๐—ช๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ๐˜€ ๐Ÿฎ - ๐Ÿฑ ๐—” ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€, ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ. ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ. In summary, the ESSENTIAL materials needed for weeks 2 - 5 will include: ๐Ÿฃ Set up for messy play: ~ a hard surface on the floor or table (not a carpet); ~ a tray for the materials (plastic tray, baking tray, paint tray, or sheet of baking foil with edges folded up to contain water- whatever is easiest for you); ~ an old towel or plastic to put underneath (for accidental spills). ๐Ÿฃ 3-minute salt dough (recipe will be provided) made with flour, water, salt and vegetable oil. ๐Ÿฃ Some soil and/ or sand from your garden and some small twigs/ bark from the ground. ๐Ÿฃ A variety of natural materials that are easy to find in your local area. For example: ~ leaves ~ flowers/ petals ~ seeds/ acorns/ etc ~ grasses/ grass clippings Start with a small selection for week 1, and you and your child can add to this as we go. ๐Ÿฃ Some basic supplies: ~ Paper to draw and stick (printer paper, watercolour paper, butchersโ€™ paper, kraft paper...whatever you have is fine). ~ Something to draw with (I like sharpies for this course, but choose whatever your child likes best: textas, pencils, crayons, etc). ~ Glue/ paste (white/ pvc/ wood glue is best for this course) and a brush. ~ Scissors ~ Water ~ A few kitchen utensils for working with our clay/ dough Additional OPTIONAL materials - nice to have, but not essential: ๐Ÿฃ Extra "nest-making" materials with different shapes, textures and smells for making and decorating. Ideas include: ~ some nice smelling dried herbs ~ pieces of string or yarn ~ feathers ~ bits of different types/ colours of paper cut up ~ washed and dried eggshells (these can also be dyed with food colour for an "added touch") ~ wool ~ glitter ~ bits of scrap fabric ~ bird seed/ rice/ grains (if appropriate to your culture and circumstances) ๐Ÿฃ Air-dry clay.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
I do not use tests or other standardised approaches to assessing children's progress. In this age group, testing it is not developmentally appropriate and in some cases may be psychologically and academically harmful. 

However, as a teacher, I do believe it is important for me to be accountable to both children and parents. I aim to deliver classes that are not just "busy work" or entertainment, but which actively contribute to each child's learning in meaningful and sustainable ways. 

To do this, I use continuous observation of children's activity and conversation. When I make these observations, I am specifically considering the child's development in relation to the learning outcomes of the class (see above). 

I then routinely provide feedback to children. This may consist of: 
~ positive affirmation (e.g. "I really liked the way you communicated your idea with that painting");
~ positive reflection (e.g. "I wonder how you came up with that idea?"); and/ or
~ positive stretching (e.g. "I wonder if you could show that idea in other ways?). 

This is a wholistic approach to assessment. The child's response to my feedback helps me understand of "how far" they have traveled in their learning, and then "what comes next" in their learning. 

I welcome questions and inquiries from parents about their child's learning progress. 
40 minutes per week in class, and no time outside of class.
~ Children will need assistance to prepare and set-up prior to each session. This will typically take 5 - 10 minutes.  

~ This class includes a strong focus on children's hands-on participation and agency. Please be aware that some activities are "messy", and I suggest having a large tray, towel or sheet to ensure easy clean-up following the class. Children should wear clothes that you are comfortable if they get messy or stained.  

~ In week one, I tell a story where two birds become separated from each other in a storm, and one of the birds feels worried when they cannot find their partner. Normally I find that most children enjoy the story and are delighted when the birds re-unite. However, if you feel this theme of separation will be distressing for your child, please let me know before-hand and I will happily adjust the story.      

~ In week two, we will do some water play using a shallow tray of water. Although the water is minimal, young children must always be directly supervised near any water. Please also be mindful of this if you have even younger children (toddlers and babies) in the house.
This class is inspired by the book: "Animal Architects" (by Ingo Arndt). 

The following texts are directly used in the class, with permission from the copyright holders:
๐Ÿฃ An Egg is Quiet (Chronicle Books), by Diana Hutt Aston & Sylvia Long. ISBN: 9780811844284.
๐Ÿฃ A Nest is Noisy (Chronicle Books), by Diana Hutt Aston & Sylvia Long. ISBN: 9781452127132.


Alice Campbell MTeach (PreK - Yr 2), MPlayTherapy
Lives in Australia
Play-Based Learning For All Children - In The Real Wonderland
173 total reviews
353 completed classes

About Me

๐—›๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น๐—ผ! ๐— ๐˜† ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—”๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ.

I am a verified ๐—ข๐˜‚๐˜๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—น ๐—”๐—–๐—˜ ๐—˜๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ and I help families from all over the world, who are searching for meaningful alternatives to high-pressure and standardised teaching approaches. An increasing number of parents...ย 
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