Action-reaction chain

Children working on workshop

In Doetinchem was a workshop action-reaction chain on the fourth of september. Me and three co workers from Kleinkunstig and some nice people from a youth centre were hired by the Zone.College in Doetinchem to give this workshop to five classes at the same time. We had a rough start but after that it was an amazing day! Let me tell you how it went:

I arrived at the location that I was told to go to. There was no workshop planned there. The dear reception ladies told me that I might needed to go to a different location and gave me some directions on how to get there. It was one street away so it wasn’t hard. Once I was there it became unclear whether the workshop was given there or at a third location on the other side of the city. I started to get a little stressed by now because I was the coördinator of this day so I didn’t want to arrive too late. At this time some people, who were too old to be students at this school, were standing behind me. We started to talk and they turned out to be the people who were going to help us out from the third location. So they confirmed that the workshop was definitely on this location.

Then there was the next dilemma. We were told to put all our materials in one small classroom but this wasn’t big enough to have the workshop with five classes at the same time. It was even a little too small for a workshop for one class. A lady came to help us: “You can use a classroom that’s not in use at the moment!” But this one wasn’t big enough either. I wanted to use the canteen. Eventually we got there but in the following way: unused classroom, outside (the wind was blowing too hard so it wasn’t possible to do the workshop outside), canteen, gym, canteen.

There I gave a short introduction on what an action-reaction chain is and what we were going to do today. Then the kids started building. It was wonderful to see them busy. The kids were very creative with the materials we had given them and thought of a lot ways to build the chain.

In my instructions I wasn’t clear enough about the fact that we were building one big chain instead of 400 small chains so this took a little extra creativity at the end. Eventually they managed to link almost all the chains together! Some parts of the chain were built a little better that others but all the kids had a ton of fun building it and getting to know each other. And in my opinion, in a first week of a first year of a new school, that’s the most important part.

After the action-reaction chain was done, the kids put everything back in the boxes they found their stuff in and went on to grab some lunch somewhere. And for us the next 5 classes were waiting already!

This round went a lot better. We as teachers knew better what to do and what to say. We knew what went wrong the first time around so we made some small changes: we made 5 workspaces, one for each class. And we decided in what height the groupes could work. So the starting group, group number one, startet at 3 metres high and went down to 2. The second went from 2 to 1.5, all the way to group number 5 from 0.5 to the floor.

This chain went better than the first one and the kids were working together rather than working on their own little piece of chain. At the end all the kids joined around the action-reaction chain and counted down to see it in action. It was beautiful to see how these classes formed a group. Just like the first round, these kids put everything back into the boxes again and then they were allowed to go.

When the canteen was kids free again, we had some time to discuss how the day went. During this time we were busy putting the blocks with the blocks, all the marbles in a bag. Everything was cleaned up nicely so that it would fit easily in my car again. A lot of the materials were modified for the chain so they had become unusable. We could throw a lot of materials away which gave me enough space in the car to give one of my colleagues a lift to Zwolle.

I learned a lot from this workshop day and I’m looking forward to the next!

Children working on workshop
Action-reaction chain working
Action-reaction chain overall

Marieke Noordhuis

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