The conundrum: The intelligent, creative, effervescent students know how to use prepositions in various ways though they do not know the various strategies for labeling or using them. A workbook presents (problem?) sentences for students to identify prepositional phrases (adverbial or adjectival phrases). What skill are they learning? Once they learn the skill of identifying prepositional phrases in drab workbooks, will this skill transfer to their own writing? In what context will they need to apply this skill?
Hypothesis: I must present a material that is palpable. The material must be something the students can mess about with. I can present various materials (e.g. a water bottle, a table, table setting — forks, knives, plates, napkins, etc. — screwdriver, newspaper, pen) and have the students tell me something they notice about the materials. I can then present a key to the students that offers various prepositional phrases regarding location (e.g. around, between, under, below, after, before, over, on top of). The students will come to know prepositional phrases are not just learned, but they are lived.
I prepared a lesson with artifacts for the students to mess about with. The students may record there understandings of prepositional phrases with the objects. They may write down their own sentences; therefore they will learn the dynamic of prepositional phrases through constructivism and messing about.