We have done this project in the Y2 class at Endaze British International School. It was developed with the teachers as part of the Light and Dark unit they had been working the weeks before in Science. We also used some materials during the activity to reinforced another concept they were learning about in class: transparent, translucent, and opaque.
The main part of this hands-on project was to experiment with light and dark. We wanted them to work with light, dark, shadows, as well as orientation, colors, and textures inside a space. Before starting, we made a short explanation about what we were doing and about how the sun enters their houses depending on the orientation. They will be playing with light coming from different angles, and also with light going through different filters.
The children had brought to school cardboard boxes from home. We made perforations in the boxes so they would look like real spaces, with windows and skylights. They worked in groups of 3 and every group had one box and one flashlight. They had some small toys to place inside their boxes to improve the experience of a real house.
We were working in a room without windows that could be darkened for the activity. First they had to arrange the toys inside the box, next they put the lid on, and then they had to shine the light into the box from different angles, just as the sun gets into our houses. They could now peered inside the space and see how it looked and changed. After that, they used the materials we had brought as filters to change the light. They experienced colored filters, textured filters, and also perforated filters, like lattice. They moved the lamps from one window to another, shifting the beam of light, testing all the filters, and changing light intensity by bringing the torch closer or farther from the box. In addition to really seeing how the light changes a space, we wanted them to tell us how they thought the toys felt inside the house depending on how it was lighted up. Making questions about the inside of the space as the lights and shadows changed, would get them trying to connect emotions and feelings with the lighting of a place. This is a first step in one of the main ideas in architectural design: perceiving and understanding the space.
Concepts and Ideas we worked:
LISTEN – LOOK – ASK – THINK – ENJOY
Project-based, hands-on project – Experimentation.
Team work – collaboration.
Observing the space.
Asking questions – Nurturing curiosity.
Developing critical thinking.
Emotional understanding of design.
Learning while having fun.