• A young girl looks across a fence into a field

    At Free Union, learning is...
    everywhere

  • Group of students wave butterfly nets excitedly on the outdoor classroom deck

    At Free Union, learning is...
    joyful

  • A boy watches a girl traverse the play structure

    At Free Union, learning is...
    challenging

  • Girl works in her nature study workbook under the trees

    At Free Union, learning is...
    independent

  • Two students read a picture book together among colorful pencils

    At Free Union, learning is...
    shared

  • Preschoolers in rain gear laugh and stomp in a mud puddle

    At Free Union, learning is...
    messy

  • A student peers into a microscope

    At Free Union, learning is...
    eye-opening

  • Students and their teacher read together under a tree

    At Free Union, learning is...
    for all ages

Our Free Union Way

Social Media Limelight

Bubbles 1Second-grade students began their school year not struggling for the right answers but looking carefully at bubbles, and asking questions.

What are they made of? Why do some get big and others burst when they're tiny? How do we evaluate the "best" bubbles? “The more you look, the more you see,” says teacher Beth Winn.

Our young investigators then came up with ideas and explanations to discuss and test. Feels like play because discovery is fun, but these are also the foundations of real scientific inquiry.

Why did Beth choose to begin school with bubbles?

Bubbles 2How big can they get?Bubbles 3What else can be a bubble blower?“First and foremost, playing with bubbles is just plain fun! As the students are playing and exploring they are gaining comfort in their new classroom and are building confidence through their discoveries.

"There are no wrong answers! These explorations are 100% student centered, with my role being one of support and encouragement.

As they are working, I circulate to ask about what they are observing, why they think that is happening, if they could do it differently, and what new questions they have from their discoveries. I ask a lot of questions and expect them to really dig deep in articulating their answers and predictions.

Bubbles 4Measuring to prove "biggest" Bubbles 5Small group, self-paced discovery

Bubbles 7Can colors predict a bubble life span? Bubbles 6Is it foam or bubbles? Or, is foam bubbles?"Through this project, they are also working cooperatively in small groups, but are learning at their own pace and level.

"It is my belief that this free investigation provides a solid foundation for the more structured (but still exciting!) learning we will begin in the upcoming weeks.”

Second graders finished the Bubble Festival by experiencing what it is like to be inside a huge bubble. Magical! When Beth asked the class why they thought she had chosen to begin the school year with the Bubble Festival, they said: "It is fun to learn new things about something we thought we already knew everything about! It makes us feel proud to get to know each other in a new way as we work together to learn something new."