In this challenge, which might serve as a culminating activity for the inquiry, students explore how participation in a group affects their sense of belonging. To introduce the activities, discuss the ways in which the Kindergarten class is a "group" with each and everyone belonging to the group. Guide the discussion to the activities that the class does together and chart their responses. Ask students to describe how it makes them feel. Are these things important? How do we know they are important? Develop criteria for deciding what is important (e.g., makes us feel good, comes from being a part of the class, helps us do things). Use these criteria to review the list of things done as a group. Ask students to choose six important things from the class list to illustrate. Circulate around the room (or arrange for a parent helper) to scribe a descriptive sentence under each drawing.
When students have completed their drawings, invite them to consider what is the most important thing about belonging in their class. Model a strategy for doing this by assembling three very useful objects (e.g., pencil. paper, books) and three less useful objects (e.g., dust ball, crumpled paper, broken pencil) found in the class. Hold up a pair of objectsone useful and the other notand ask students to sort the objects into two piles (important to have, not so important to have). When students understand the strategy, ask them to pick up a pair of their drawings and to sort the two picturesputting the one that is more important in one pile and the other in a separate pile. Repeat this for the two other pairs of illustrations. Ask students to look at the three illustrations placed in the most important pile and decide on the best of these, using the previously-discussed criteria. Create an eight-page booklet for each student: a cover page titled "Important things about our class," the six illustrations and a newly-created illustration of their most important choice as the last page. (Students may want to select several "most important" things.) You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Selecting the Best Thing (Support Material) to structure and assess this last activity.