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Constructing a Cradle

child with box

About this video

José: Done!

Several families of children in Judy Cagle’s mixed-age prekindergarten class were expecting babies. In response to this new interest, Mrs. Cagle took them to visit the maternity ward at a nearby hospital. While at the hospital, they toured a special baby room, and when they returned to school, they decided to build their own baby room.

Ayla’s family was expecting a baby brother, and they had recently decorated a room for the baby’s arrival. She told the other children that her parents had decorated the baby’s room with a moon and stars, because that would help the baby rest. So the children decided to incorporate the moon and stars into the décor of their baby room. They also decided to build a crib. The crib construction crew showed great persistence, coordination, and cooperation as they worked together to saw the bars. The Baby Project took place in the late spring, and the boys in this clip were completing their 4-year-old year before kindergarten.



José: (Waiting.) Okay, now it’s…

James: (Draws lines on side of box.) It’s not done. Look at this side (turns box).

José saws while Julian steadies the box.

James: I’m not putting my hands right there.

James: Let’s take turns!

José saws another slit.

Julian: (Steadies side of box.) Here, let me hold it.

Mrs. Cagle: (To Jose.) Watch your hands.

Conner moves to José’s side and helps hold the box steady with his left hand and helps Jose push and pull the saw.

Conner: All right, go.

Julian: Done. Done, José.

José: No, I’m not done.

Conner: It’s done. This is done.

José: This is done.

James: Let go. Let go!

Mrs. Cagle: No, he’s going to hold it so it’ll stay steady.

James: Stays.

James begins to saw as the other three boys hold the box steady. Julian helps him move the saw in and out.

Conner: James, you’re not out of the line. He’s not out of the line.

Julian: (Continuing to help saw.) He’s not supposed to be out of the line.

Conner: He’s done.

José: Done.

James: Done.

José: Done.

Julian: Done.

James begins to saw another slit with the assistance of three other boys.

James: Done.

Julian: Done?

James: I just didn’t do that. I didn’t do that (shaking his head).

Conner: My turn, my turn, my turn (accepting the saw).

James: I didn’t do that (shaking his head). I can’t get it where it goes.

Conner: Julian!

Julian: I’m helping you!

Benchmarks and How They Were Met

BenchmarksHow They Were Met
Language Arts
1.B.ECa: Use language for a variety of purposes.
José, James, Julian, and Conner provided verbal support, directions, and information for each other. (“Here, let me hold it.” “All right, go.” “James, you’re not out of the line.”)
11.A.ECa: Express wonder and curiosity about their world by asking questions, solving problems, and designing things.
While making the cradle they had designed, the boys solved problems such as how to hold and move the saw, how to keep the box steady, and how to know when one part of the job was complete.
Physical Development and Health
19.A.ECa: Engage in active play using gross- and fine-motor skills.
To move the saw, the boys used upper body strength and stability (shoulders), along with movements of their arms and hands. They used their hands and fingers to hold the box steady for the person who was sawing.
Physical Development and Health
19.B.ECa: Coordinate movements to perform complex tasks.
Each boy could saw, although some needed more assistance than others.
Physical Development and Health
21.A.ECa: Follow rules and procedures when participating in group physical activities.
The boys followed the rules by taking turns using the saw and holding the box, wearing safety goggles, and keeping their hands away from the saw’s blade. The boys sought consensus for when they were done with a slit in the crib.
Social/emotional Development
31.A.ECa: Show empathy, sympathy, and caring for others.
Julian and Conner helped other boys push and pull the saw so it would function. Julian explained that James was “not supposed to be out of the line.”

Note: This video clip was made possible by STARnet Regions I & III with funding from the Illinois State Board of Education.