Monday, April 30, 2012

Exploring Ramps

Over the past few weeks the students have become really interested in ramps and pathways. Earlier in the year we had put out a provocation with different types of ramps, but the children did not go as deeply into their exploration as they have been recently.

We saw an interest at building, the children were using the blocks to build ramps and kept requesting marbles. We added PVC piping as well as some small black tubing...and of course marbles.

It is so interesting to watch children build ramps and evolve the pathways. I was so deep in play with the children that I was unable to document as we were learning. My hands were full holding pieces of the ramp and supporting the children in their construction.

As the children built they began with a simple ramp that extended from the tubing. The marble kept falling off the side of the ramp. The children noticed the problem and decided to add "walls" to the sides. They tested their new theory and found that the marble now was staying on the block track.

They began to run into a new problem. On their track some of the blocks were different heights. It was so interesting to see the children problem solve together to adjust the height using different blocks. Each time a marble got stuck, the children took apart their structure to figure out where it got stuck, why and then created a new plan by changing the pathway.

Essentially, these Kindergarten students were creating a hypothesis, testing their theories, and adjusting their original plan. Rich language continued to come out of conversations as they built and problem solved - slanted, angles, tunnels, height.

What was most interesting was what one of the students who often struggles to work with others said, "teamwork never lets you down". He was right - not only did these students create ramps but they also engaged in teamwork by negotiating ideas for their ramp.

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