A giant’s bone: how can scientific knowing about bones be communicated to young children?

Abi Hackett and Jill Smith have been collaborating with scientists, community partners and a visual artist to think about ways of using visual, hands on, embodied methods to begin to open up conversations about what bones are and what they are made of with young children.

When we exhibited the Giant Bone sculpture in the Sheffield Winter Gardens, it seemed to be a hit! Great swathes of children and families passed by and interacted with the bone, some returning later in the day for one last play before they went home.  Its favoured purpose was as a climbing frame and the soft cuddly toys (representing the cells of the bone) were clutched, carried and thrown by children throughout the day.  It was wonderful to see the bone brought to life.  The research team were on hand to explain and discuss the project as well as assist children in using the app to draw a picture about their experience of interacting with the bone.  It was certainly a busy and fun filled day for the team and children alike!

Our next steps are to explore the data to see how it can help us to consider the forms of knowledge and understanding interacting with the bone enabled and also to consider how this might be constituted differently by academics.  What, we hope to ask, are the intersections between academics and preschools children’s knowledge of bones and the body?

You can read more about the Giant Bone project and the different collaborators involved at www.agiantsbone.wordpress.com.

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