As part of the LC English Curriculum, students have been reading ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. One of the most pertinent points of the novel is the unlawful imprisonment of two of the characters in a converted 11ft x 11ft shed.
To aid student understanding and visualisation of this space, Ms Dunphy and her students used chalk in some of the outside space of the campus to outline ‘Room’ and its furnishings.
As a first step, students were asked to estimate 11ft x 11ft as accurately as possible. Many different problem solving ideas were applied, including students who knew their height lying on the ground, others googled the dimensions of an ipad and placed theirs out carefully on the ground and another team used both their books and ipads to estimate the space. The most accurate measurement was gauged by the team of Ciara Witter, Emma Kelly, Veronica Certeza and Hannah Cullen, whose chalk outline measured 11’2” x 11’ 2”. This group judged the measurement by lying on the ground-showing huge commitment and great ingenuity to the task of accurate measurement.
Once a space had been outlined, students had to populate their space with the items from the novel-showing their ability to retrieve information quickly from their novel and think creatively about both the dimensions and placement of the furniture (such as a bed, table, toilet, bath, stove, fridge, door). Creative thinking, spatial awareness and reading strategies were all utilised by the student groups in completing this operation.
The overall layout was peer assessed, with the highest cumulative mark going again to the team of Ciara Witter, Emma Kelly, Veronica Certeza and Hannah Cullen. Honorable mention to Hana Hasani, Nia Thomas, Anu Cronin, Lucy Byrne and Amy Kavanagh.
As well as being very valuable in promoting skills such as critical and creative thinking, students had an enjoyable morning in the sun, and benefited from Covid safe outdoor groupwork.