｜Ch5 Classic Lesson Plan－Solar-term Activity – Making ‘Tang Yuan’ in Winter Solstice
Sitting in a circle and holding each other’s hands, our children sing songs related to Winter and winter solstice in both Chinese and Taiwanese. Through melodies and lyrics, they learn that the days are short and the nights are long in Winter. Winter Solstice is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. ‘Tang Yuan’ is served to worship our ancestors. Moreover, they symbolize the unity and binding of Chinese family.
With the advent of Winter Solstice, we had our children anticipate and imagine the process of making ‘Tang Yuan’. Out of their curiosity, they assumed that making ‘Tang Yuan’ would be similar to making playdough. We expected them to find the answers by themselves via their participation in the coming hands-on activity rather than revealing the answers to them beforehand.
During the morning hours, the machinery needed for making sticky rice dough was set up on campus. The machine drew every child’s attention and they eagerly asked for the procedures of making sticky rice dough. They knew they would use the machine but they didn’t quite know how. Therefore, we decided to go to the patio to find out together.
Everyone in the village sat around the patio. The festival was started with the story of Winter Solstice that pulled up the curtain and gained everyone’s attention. After the prelude, Tr. Yu-Cheng and Tr. Irene showed us how to make sticky rice dough with the machine. Firstly, they used a rice mill to ground the rice and produced rice syrup. Then they put the rice syrup in a cotton bag, and pressed it hard to make dry dough. The first lump of dry dough needed to be placed in hot water and mixed with more sticky rice powder so that they could make more sticky rice dough. Repeating this procedure, we made a huge lump of sticky rice dough to be used in making our ‘Tang Yuan’. To highlight the spirit of the festival, we used a little edible food dye to make the ‘Tang Yuan’ red.
What came next was our children’s task. They washed their hands and started to mold the dough for the ‘Tang Yuan’. “How big should the ‘Tang Yuan’ be?” they pondered. ‘Tang Yuan’ would either be too big to chew or too small to cook. The ideal size was to be as big as the children’s thumb. Our children tried to mold the dough for the ‘Tang Yuan’ in the perfect size. During this process, they offered suggestions to each other. After all the hard work, the dough for the ‘Tang Yuan’ was finally molded and sent to the kitchen for cooking. The children ate the ‘Tang Yuan’ for their afternoon snack. Hand-made food always tastes better. Enjoying the ‘Tang Yuan’, everyone felt the sweet bonding among them.
When we reflected on the process of making the sticky rice dough with our children, they took turns explaining every single procedure. Making sticky rice dough is not an easy task at all! In a few days’ time, we would be inviting the parents to our Winter Festival and make the same dough again. Later, we would make some animal’s figures with the dough. Furthermore, the Moon Class has created a “Dough Challenge” and raised questions such as, “What is the ideal percentage for mixing flour, water, and oil to avoid getting sticky hands?” they gave it a try and found the answer. After that, they made a “Dough Challenge Record”, which clearly illustrated how they met the challenge throughout the whole process.
During Winter Festival, the children made sticky rice dough with their parents. This time, they knew how to implement every step with patience and perseverance. Some children enjoyed the work. Some kept asking their teacher whether their work is done. Everyone had different working attitudes. Finally, they made the dough into different animal figures through their collaborative work.
Knowing how to make ‘Tang Yuan’, our children enjoyed the ‘Tang Yuan’ they made. They not only savored the food made of natural ingredients but also sensed the love and warmth from others. Making dough is more than an interesting hands-on science project. Our children learned how to focus by working with their fingers. Moreover, they gained inner strength after rolling up their sleeves and working with their own hands.To sum up, Winter Solstice is the time for us to get together and celebrate with our family. We listen to the story and make animal figures with sticky rice dough. Altogether, our life is enriched by this unique and memorable experience.
撰文: 道禾大墩校 資深教師 林憶婷
Author: Daohe Preschool, Da-dun Campus, Senior Teacher, Yi-Ting Lin
譯文: 專案執行 陳惠芬
Translator: Project Executive, Sino Hui-Fen Chen
英文編輯: 專案執行 Ebrima Cham
English Editor: Project Executive, Ebrima Cham
攝影: 道禾大墩校 資深教師 林憶婷、陳家榮
Photographer: Daohe Preschool, Da-dun Campus, Senior Teacher, Yi-Ting Lin, Jack Chia-Jung Chen