For the past few weeks, the children have been trying to uncover the mysteries of what lies underneath the surface of the earth, considering the invisible world that rests beneath our feet.
We first read David Macaulay’s book, Underground, where we learned about the weaving, overlapping network of tunnels, pipes, and cables that bring us water, electricity, and gas, and transport us around the city. The children soon became entranced by the discovery that the pipes that bring water gushing out of our faucets extend for miles and miles deep into the earth. They began to peek down into the grates at the playground, squinting to find any clues about the subterranean landscape. The children also opened up the cabinets in the Purple Room, looking to see where the pipes disappeared into the floor, wondering where their water had traveled from.
Next we read, What Do Roots Do? by Kathleen Kudlinski, looking closely at the intricate root systems that anchor plant life and carry food and water from their stems to the tips of their leaves.
We had a group conversation where we asked the Purple Room, “What else lives underground?” The children made a list together: things from the natural world like roly poly bugs, moles, rats, badgers, and worms live alongside manmade pipes and tunnels.
Then, we sat together and began to write a collborative story, beginning with the prompt:
“We got into an elevator that went down, down, down…what happened next?”
Wexler: We got into the elevator and it goes all the way down to the ground floor, then it bumped a huge bump. We got into a drill train that dug is farther into the earth. It has a few buttons, a nozzle. The faster it spins, the more dirt it spins, then the dirt shoots back up. It’s getting super hot because it’s getting closer to the core!
Robin: Now we’re in a deep dark cave!
Arlo: It smells like stinky dirt!
Hiram: I see a skeleton!
Gunnu: I see a bat! Eek!
Wexler: Nothing can go this deep! Not even bugs can live this deep!
Sedona: We can find treasure! A key! The key says “diamond” on it.
Wexler: We saw a huge diamond and it had a keyhole in it, so I think it’s a door. We opened the door and we saw TALKING DIAMONDS!
Bayar: We can see all the diamonds through the window.
Wexler: The talking diamonds grew down there!
Sedona: There are two of all the friends.
Sammy: I see another Sammy!
Sedona: We can see all the school teachers under the earth. We fell over a monster!
Robin: There was a monster with eyeballs on his tummy.
Wexler: There were skeletons and the bones started to MOVE! They stared at us and then started to chase us.
Sammy: We got back in our train and came back up!
The mystical nature of this vast, unknowable underground world meant that our story naturally became entrenched in fantasy, dancing with animated monsters, curiosities, and wonders. Soon we will be revisiting this hylozoic world of caves, clones, and bats, discovering more about what’s hidden.