I really liked how this short-term inquiry evolved with Mr. Tong's kindergarten class. I saw the JK/SKs from Room K1 quite often this year, for library, media, music, drama, and dance. One day in June, I walked in as Mr. Tong was reading a book to his class about big numbers. Someone, and I can't recall if it was an adult or child in the room, wondered out loud about 1000 french fries. How much is 1000 french fries? Could we eat it in one meal? The questions were flying.
I was just as enthusiastic about these questions as the students. I was so keen that I did my own research outside school hours and documented the results on Twitter.
When I shared my findings, this led to even more questions by the students and teachers. My Popeyes meal was part of a combo - would the results be different if I had purchased fries by themselves?.@mjtlbarrie @AgnesMacphailPS And we want to know the difference in fry types (julienne, shoestring, steak cut) & different restaurants!— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) June 2, 2016
In media class, Room K1 and I took a "media walk" virtually using Google Streetview to the local McDonalds, identifying different forms of media along the way.
In the regular classroom, Mr. Tong splurged in the name of primary source material research. He bought four medium McDonalds french fries. The students counted the amount of fries in each container. The results were:
The students calculated that, using the highest result as a benchmark, they would need to buy about 10 orders of medium fries from McDonalds to get approximately 1000 french fries.
We didn't get a chance to purchase fries from Burger King or Wendys or Harveys to compare to the extent we hoped. (The students were hoping for free food in addition to discovering answers.) Despite the limited time, we had a great time integrating language, math and media. My original intention at the beginning of this school year was to use the classroom inquiry questions as guides for the themes for my long range plans for the kindergarteners. This didn't work out quite as planned - sometimes the question didn't naturally fit the subject area I needed to address, or by the time I learned of an inquiry question in a certain class, they had already exhausted interest in it and moved on to something else. However, this french fry inquiry showed me that integrated inquiry between specialist teachers and kindergarten teachers with their registered early childhood educators is possible.