30 January 2009

What's it for - wood?

(or 'Maybe this classroom should become a stuff-free zone')

We know that wood is not stretchy.  Neither is it magnetic.  It feels warm to the touch and it is opaque.  Plus, it can be soft or hard (just ask Meghna about that!); it can be heavy or light; it can be flexible or rigid.  And probably a lot more things besides.

But what can it be used for?

What, for example, can this be?  'It smells,' explained Shouq. 


And indeed it did.  It sent us off of a deliciously scented tangent; past cinnamon and camphor by way of hickory and sandalwood.

Then Tatiana showed us this:

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'It's a chair.  It's warm and not flexible,' she explained.

'I think it's made from a hard wood,' Meghna thought aloud.  'That means it comes from a deciduous tree,' with certainty.

Chloe showed us some light, flexible wooden stuff.


'Its for putting stuff on cakes and stuff,' she told us.  Useful word, stuff!

'I have a wooden spoon,' began Martin.


'It's a bit flexible and it's soft.'

'Coniferous tree.'  Meghna again.

'My giraffe,' said Leon,


'is hard and not flexible and it comes from Africa.  It's a decoration,' he said.

More decorative stuff now.  'This is a wooden owl.


I got it for Christmas.  It feels smooth but the branch feels rough,' Tommy said.

'My elephant,' began Sivert,


'is made from a different wood.  I think it's a hard wood.'

Meghna?  'Deciduous trees have hard wood,' emphatically.

Aabis too had an animal.  Part toy, part decoration.


'It's from Pakistan,' he said.  'They took the small bits of wood that were left and they carved them with their hand.'

Next up, an alligator toy from Viivi.  'From Italy,' she said.  Made from a very beautiful wood, isn't it.  I wonder what tree it came from.


Another 'toy'.  This time from Thomas.


'My dad made it.  I think it's a soft wood.'

Battle-scarred, dented.....


Meghna thought that meant it must be a soft wood.  Coniferous of course.

Harrison brought us another toy.  A puppet:


He also had a box (that once held rather fancy chocolates):


And a bit of his very own handiwork:


'I did the nails,' he told us.  'It was difficult.  I had to hit them hard with a hammer.'

'It's for doing sushi,' said Ryoma of his mat.


'It's bamboo.  It's flexible and smooth.'

Still in the kitchen (well, kind of).  Shani showed us this beautiful bowl.


'It's from Africa.  Kenya,' she clarified.  'It's a light wood.  It was carved.'

This was carved too.  'It's a cup,' said Viivi.

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'It holds water.  It's waterproof.  It comes from Finland.'

'My drum,' said Dylan, 'comes from Africa.'


And now, a musical note to end on.  'This is my violin,' Meghna told us.


'I don't know what wood it's made from, but I think it's from a deciduous tree.'

'Hard wood,' the chorus.

Do I need to summarise?  Perhaps.

Coniferous (evergreen) trees have soft wood.

Deciduous trees (which lose their leaves) have hard wood.

Both kinds of wood are useful for different things.  What things do you think might be best made using a hard wood?  What things do you know that are made from soft wood?

As we have seen, wood can be used for making things smell and taste good; for furniture.  It can be used for kitchen implements; for decorations and toys; for containers and for musical instruments.

Useful stuff wood!

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