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Bethany Draws a Wheel

two children draw

About this video

The community college child care center in this video was near the automotive lab, where auto mechanics were trained. The families of the children were students, faculty, and members of the local community. Many of the families qualified for subsidized child care because of their income. Children had many different attendance patterns, due to their parents’ class or work schedules.

A camera crew from WILL TV, the educational television station of the University of Illinois, came to film the children at our center as they investigated cars in the automotive lab. Jeff Cunningham, the cameraman, was fascinated by the intentionality of the children’s field sketches and the understanding the sketches revealed. He talked with Bethany (age 4 years, 9 months) about her drawing of a wheel. Moments like this demonstrate the value of project work. Her sketch and her description of various parts of the sketch reveal learning in several areas of the Illinois Early Learning Standards.



Jeff: (Pointing at Bethany’s drawing.) Can you tell me about it?

Bethany: (Points to the center of drawing.) That is the middle, and that (draws finger across wheel) is part of the wheel (then points to the center of the drawing). And that’s a little picture that goes in the middle. And that’s (draws finger across curved lines on the left side of the drawing) so they would know that it’s moving (then points to the left side of the drawing). And that’s so they would know what direction it is going. It’s not going up (pointing at place on the left side of the page where she’s covered over an arrow with her pencil), and I drawed it going up, so I did it that way.

Jeff: What do you call it?

Sallee: Which one is it that you’re drawing, Bethany?

Bethany: (Pointing to wheel on a car that is up on a lift.) That wheel. (Pauses.) It looks like it’s turning.

Jeff: I like the way it looks like it’s turning. Can you show me which wheel again?

Bethany: (Pointing.) That wheel.

Benchmarks and How They Were Met

BenchmarksHow They Were Met
Language Arts
1.A.ECb: Respond appropriately to questions from others.
Bethany used words, gestures, and her drawing to answer questions from Jeff and Sallee.
Language Arts
1.C.ECa: Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with teacher assistance, provide additional detail.
Bethany thoroughly described her drawing to Jeff and provides more information to answer questions from Jeff and Sallee.
Language Arts
5.C.ECa: Participate in group projects or units of study designed to learn about a topic of interest.
Bethany made her wheel drawing as part of a class study of the automotive lab.
8.A.ECa: Sort, order, compare, and describe objects according to characteristics or attribute(s).
She pointed out which wheel she had drawn and commented, “It looks like it’s turning.”
8.A.ECb: Recognize, duplicate, extend, and create simple patterns in various formats.
Bethany repeated a pattern in the design of her wheel drawing.
9.B.ECa: Show understanding of location and ordinal position.
Bethany indicated that the center of her drawing showed the “little picture that goes in the middle” of the wheel.
9.B.ECb: Use appropriate vocabulary for identifying location and ordinal position.
Bethany used the terms “part of the wheel” and “middle” to describe locations on her drawing and said “that wheel” to indicate which one she drew.
10.A.ECb: Gather data about themselves and their surroundings to answer meaningful questions
Bethany made a detailed sketch of one item she saw in the automotive lab.
11.A.ECb: Develop and use models to represent their ideas, observations, and explanations through approaches such as drawing, building, or modeling with clay.
Bethany augmented her drawing of the wheel with lines to indicate movement and an arrow to indicate direction of movement.
11.A.ECd: Collect, describe, compare, and record information from observations and investigations.
Bethany used her sketch to record her observation of the wheel. The sketch was used as a basis for class discussion the following day.
12.D.ECa: Describe the effects of forces in nature.
Bethany used her sketch to show motion and direction.
Physical Development and Health
19.A.ECe: Use writing and drawing tools with some control.
Bethany was able to use a pencil to make a detailed sketch of a wheel.
The Arts
25.A.ECd: Visual Arts: Investigate and participate in activities using visual arts materials.
Bethany used paper and pencil supported by a clipboard to make her sketch.
The Arts
26.B.ECa: Use creative arts as an avenue for self-expression.
Bethany used her graphic skills to represent her ideas about the wheel and its movement.
Social/emotional Development
30.C.ECb: Demonstrate persistence and creativity in seeking solutions to problems.
Bethany found a way to show in what direction the wheel was “not going” by covering over the arrow that pointed up.