Building for Strength
Tucker children thoroughly enjoyed making large, stable buildings that supported their weight last week. On Thursday, some children were hopeful that it could happen again. Instead, we altered the challenge slightly. Could the children build structures with unit blocks that would support heavy, concrete shapes? Last week, we determined that starting with a conversation and a plan proved successful. We began our process the same way this week.
Children looked over the concrete shapes.
Giacomo: The heaviest of the heavy.
Janie: (Looks at the wooden contraction blocks). There aren’t enough blocks.
Jack: I have an idea. Build first. We can put (the concrete columns) together and then (the heavier concrete bowl) on top
Giacomo: That will be on top of the structure.
Jack: Giacomo is the best builder in the whole school so he might have an idea.
Jack and Giacomo draw plans to create a structure to hold the concrete pieces
CC: Definitely not these (picks up small, thin blocks). Look how small they are. We need these. (She picks up square, hollow blocks).
Nora: I know what’s strong. The table we made before.
Giacomo: But we don’t have the hollow blocks.
CC: Oh! I didn’t see these! (she shows everyone the long blocks)
Nora: We can criss cross build. Let’s make a floor. Jack: (Jack adds the columns to his first building) My idea worked! It looks like a bank. This is where you go in and get money.
Giacomo: (Jack starts to add the heaviest piece) There’s more weight on one side. We have to move it or it will fall.
Nora: It’s a bank with a sign on it.
Nora and Giacomo build a large structure together but disagree on how to proceed.
Giacomo begins adding a ceiling to the structure. Nora tries to go inside but it seems unstable
CC:(grabbing the structure and testing it) I see it wobble.
Part of the ceiling collapses.
CC: See. It could have fallen on someone’s head
Jack makes a second structure following his original plan.
Jack: I did it! Look, it holds them.
Giacomo adds some blocks to Jacks work.
Jack: Wow, you added a lot. I love it, Giacomo.
Giacomo's drawing showed horizontal stacks of blocks. These became the walls as the children built together.
As the children built together, they definitely explored strength and stability. Children also demonstrated their understanding of size and equivalence as the buildings came together. The collaboration with others and support for others was high during the process. In addition, Jack and Giacomo were able to translate their ideas from a two dimensional representation to a three dimensional structure.
Friday..... Building Continues!
With a lot of people out of town, we had a smaller than usual Friday Group. After lunch, the children were given a choice on how to spend their time. It's probably no surprise that there was a lot of interest in building. Today's big idea was a large enclosure.
Giacomo - What if we make it across the whole table?
There is general agreement from the group.
Giacomo - What if we use all the materials to go all the way around the table. The taller we have (walls) in one spot, the less (blocks) we have to make it around. Let's do a pattern. Small blocks then large blocks.
C.C. - This is a door.
Jack - That's a great idea.
The builders enjoyed going in and out of the structure they had built. Before we cleaned up, we decided to see if all KW children could fit inside. They did! The children suggested that there was even room for Jordan and Jill. As usual, the children were right!
Boy Colors? Girl Colors?
On Thursday, we played a game allowing us to explore children's associations with color. Two hula hoops were placed on the table with some overlap (the preschool version of a Venn diagram). Children were given a number of different colored squares and asked to put them in either the girl/ green circle or the red/boy circle. Jack understood that colors that could be both for girls and boys could go in the area of overlap.
The children enthusiastically put their colors in place. There was some discussion and respectful debate about where certain colors belonged. Children brought up the concepts of fairness and favorite colors. In the end, it was determined that all the colors were appropriate for both boys and girls. We have a video of this experience that we will be showing next Friday during the gallery walk. We hope to see you there!
Our group games have become one of our favorite parts of the day. Many are organized by the adults, but children also make up games during their time in the outdoor classroom. Last week, the Tucker crew played a monster game that involved capturing other monsters with the hula hoops. We wondered if there was another way to play this game without the hula hoops, which might lead to children tripping and hurting themselves. Some other materials were suggested.
Audrey - I would like to use the noodles.
Reed - We tag someone with the noodle and not catch them with the hula hoop. You could choke them with the hula hoop.
We found one noodle. Could the game still work?
C.C. - We could pass the noodle to someone else, after we tag them.
The game worked well and a good time was had by all who participated.
A Quick Look at Everything Else
The message center has been hot lately! Reed is perhaps our message queen, and today it paid off! She found a pile of messages in her mailbox! While some children built big yesterday, others worked with watercolors and collage. The children are also enjoying building, swinging, and taking on physical challenges in the outdoor classroom. Enjoy these images and have a great long weekend!
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