The Hospital Project

A Project by Kindergarten Students at Cherry Tree Elementary School, Carmel, Indiana

Length of project: 8 weeks
Teachers:  Candy Ganzel

Phase One—Beginning the Project

In response to visiting the hospital nursery for our Baby Study and from interest generated from my recent surgery, the children were very inquisitive about the hospital. From this interest, we decided to study the hospital and many of its associated functions. Because many of the children's parents worked in medical-related fields, I knew that we had a large resource pool of experts. There is also a hospital nearby, and the children had a lot of experience with hospitals, ranging from being a patient in the hospital to visiting people in the hospital. Our many discussions about their experiences enabled us to web the hospital topic. Using the web, the children decided what parts of the hospital they wanted to study and thus divided themselves into small groups. The groups were: Emergency Room, Admitting and Waiting, Lab, Doctors and Nurses, Nursery, Body, Accidents, and Patient Rooms.

Phase Two—Developing the Project

The children worked in their small groups to form questions. Some of the groups went to the hospital for their field work and many of the children had experts visit them. We had a microbiologist and doctors and nurses from many specialties that met with the children in small groups. All of these experts were children's parents. After talking to the experts, two of the groups changed their focus. The Emergency Room group decided to study accidents. One of the Body groups decided to study more about organ transplants. Once the groups were more focused, they started to represent what they had learned. The children represented their information by constructing a skeleton made from paper, a model of a nursery, a poster of accidents and how to prevent them, a book about the lab, an informational poster of the lab, puppets and a puppet show demonstrating the circulation of blood, a skit about the emergency room, three-dimensional puppets of the body, and a life-sized cut-out of the body with the body parts. Much of what the children learned extended into their writing and their dramatic play.

Phase Three—Concluding the Project

The children first presented to all of the other children in the class what they had learned and what they made. We then decided to invite parents and other significant adults to see our projects. The children showed the guests their part of the project and explained what they had learned, and were also responsible for explaining the other parts of the Hospital Project to the adults. The children designed a tour brochure to help the guests know what questions to ask, what to see, and what should be explained. This project expanded their ability to speak publicly, listen, and write. Some of the skills learned during this project were: critical thinking, responsibility, fine motor, cooperation, researching, gathering data, sorting information, and many, many more.

Comments

I have been using the Project Approach in my classroom for four years and I thought this was one of the best projects I have done thus far. I felt the interest level of the children was high and remained high during the whole project. I received positive feedback from the parents. The children not only showed an interest at school for the hospital, but they also took much of the information home to discuss. Two children in the x-ray group particularly impressed me. They became very interested in the skeleton. They used a book about skeletons to make a skeleton on a poster board. They cut all of the pieces free-hand and labeled them. The time and patience they put into this representation was extraordinary. Another positive element in this project was the number of parents from our classroom who were able to be really involved with the project as experts. It was nice to have so much parental support. I felt the children really benefited from the Hospital Project and would consider hospitals as a possible project topic again.

children playing "doctor"              drawing of a hospital


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