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Dustin’s French Horn Model

child with french horn

About this video

At the beginning of the video, Dustin (age 4) is talking with a classroom visitor he has just met. Dustin is in a prekindergarten classroom that uses the Project Approach. His class has just finished a project on musical instruments. They have seen how musicians use various instruments to produce specific sounds. As part of the project, the class learned about “Peter and the Wolf,” a composition for children by Prokofiev. Each character in the story of “Peter and the Wolf” is represented by a specific instrument in the orchestra. String instruments play when the main character, Peter, is on the scene. A duck is represented by an oboe, a hungry wolf by a French horn, and so on.

Dustin and his classmates have created models of the instruments used in “Peter and the Wolf.” They worked from their own drawings of actual instruments. Some collaborated with classmates, parents, or teachers; others worked alone. Parent participation was one goal of the model-making activity.

The teachers have helped the children to create a display of their models in the hallway outside the classroom. The children tell interested visitors about their creations. In classrooms that use the Project Approach, children are often involved in telling others what they have done and learned. It is easy to see that Dustin is not as relaxed as he would be if he were playing with friends or talking to his teacher, but he speaks clearly and with confidence. The video clip starts after Dustin has told the visitor that his instrument is a French horn.



Dustin: And the French horn is a little bit like a trumpet and a trombone.

Visitor: So it’s like those two instruments a little bit.

Dustin nods.

Visitor: Yeah. How did you know about French horns?

Dustin: Uhm, because, they’re like trumpets.

Visitor: They’re like trumpets. Okay. What did you use to make your French horn model?

Dustin: We used an old vacuum cleaner thing and put wolf fur on it so it can be for a wolf.

Visitor: Oh, so you put something on it so it’s like wolf fur! What made you decide to do that?

Dustin: So it could be like a wolf.

Visitor: It could be like a wolf? And you said a minute ago that the French horn was like a wolf. Is there a story that you’re thinking about where a French horn is like a wolf?

Dustin: Yeah.

Visitor: What story is that?

Dustin: “Peter and the Wolf.”

Visitor: “Peter and the Wolf”…. And when you built that, did you build it all by yourself, or did you have somebody working on it with you?

Dustin: My mom and, uhm, Miss Becca.

Visitor: Your mom and Miss Becca?

Dustin: Mmhm.

Visitor: What did they, how did they help you with it?

Dustin: First my mom helped me, and then my mom goed to her work, and then Miss Becca helped me, and the, uh, then last time tomorrow—last time of tomorrow, the other kids worked on it.

Visitor: So you had some help from other kids too?

Dustin: Yeah.

Visitor: What are the parts? Can you tell me what a couple of the other parts are?

Dustin: (Points to various parts.) This is the keys and that’s the part where you, ah, where the bell is, and that’s where you blow.

Visitor: Okay, so you blow in there. Okay. What did you use for the keys? How did you make those?

Dustin: Popsicle sticks.

Visitor: Okay, Popsicle sticks? Anything else we should know about this French horn model that you made?

Dustin: No.

Visitor: Okay. Thanks very much.

Benchmarks and How They Were Met

BenchmarksHow They Were Met
Language Arts
1.A.ECb: Respond appropriately to questions from others.
Dustin gave detailed answers to a visitor’s questions about the process of making the model.
Language Arts
1.D.ECa: With teacher assistance, use complete sentences in speaking with peers and adults in individual and group situations.
Dustin used a combination of complete sentences and shorter phrases to answer the visitor’s questions.
11.A.ECb: Develop and use models to represent their ideas, observations, and explanations through approaches such as drawing, building, or modeling with clay.
Dustin planned and created a model of a French horn based on his knowledge of the instrument, with assistance from adults and peers.
12.C.ECa: Identify, describe, and compare the physical properties of objects.
Dustin commented that a French horn is like a trumpet and a trombone. He described the materials used to make the model. He explained the function of some parts of the French horn (“That’s where you blow.”)
Social Studies
16.A.ECa: Recall information about the immediate past.
Dustin recalled the role of the French horn in “Peter and the Wolf.” He recounted steps involved in making the model. His use of “time” words at one point (“last time of tomorrow”) suggested that he was still learning how to express ideas about the past.
The Arts
25.A.ECd: Visual Arts: Investigate and participate in activities using visual arts materials.
With assistance, Dustin used found materials and art materials to create a three-dimensional model.
The Arts
25.B.ECa: Describe or respond to their creative work or the creative work of others.
Dustin described part of the process of creating the model. The model itself was part of his response to Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.”

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Family Child Care
  • Child Care Center
  • Preschool Program

Intended audience(s):
  • Teachers / Service providers

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:
Reviewed: 2017