It was a busy day at the ‘patent office’ today… Inventors worked on creating floating devices that could travel from the upper to the lower portion of a nearby creek.
No fancy tools in sight, but a lot of ideas about how to hinge and secure loose parts as well as how to build on previous knowledge. These young engineers developed a repertoire of discoveries when they played with blocks last week and today they transferred all that learning to recycled materials, tape, scissors and string: strong bases and bottom-heavy structures to keep buildings from tipping over.
These inventors are looking at everyday items in a different way: the fridge, the table and the trash are now a source of inspiration! They are practicing creative problem solving when they come up with innovative ways to hinge, bind or secure loose items that become part of a whole. Tape and string tie, or connect objects in very different ways.
Kids live in the present: they come up with intricate ideas that they can test right away. Tape, string and scissors provide a quick feedback without having to wait for glue to dry… In this case our inventors relied on a nearby creek for further tests. They first tested their inventions in the sink before they left for the creek. They considered what would happen if their floaters sank, lost a piece in the wild and animals were stuck with non-biodegradable objects in their natural habitat. Some tests required a new beginning, or new parts. The children were also learning to use mistakes as learning tools; such an important part of this process and a “lost art” in many young children’s lives!
These invention opportunities do something important for the process of learning: they help us learn about potential misconceptions and how to guide children’s discoveries to further their rich learning about the world around them. We can watch our children go from where they are to where they need to be without pre-determining the outcome on a test. They need to have plenty of choices to learn how to choose what fits their thinking and deepens their discoveries.
By the end of the day, their imagination ran open and free and they quickly went to the moon and back while being the main characters in an endless adventure that involved shrinking and traveling on their floaters to not so faraway lands.
Set-Up for Episode #12:
- As many recycled materials as possible (make sure you have safe items without leftover chemicals, moldy food, etc)
- Hole punchers
- Paper clips (they make great hooks!)
- Lots of curious children!
The difference in textures gives them new information and new ways to explore. The more the merrier here.
These invention experiences are great for creating challenges here and there, always remembering to have enough to make this a successful and memorable experience! Maybe having real hinges and a glue gun can take this to a whole different level!
A friendly tip: make sure that the surface the children are using to create their inventions is clutter-free – ‘free desk, free mind’ has its advantages! This picture was taken at the end of the day. The table remained inviting and they revisited it as needed. The mess can be all around them, but if they have the tools they need and nothing else, they have a good place to start and keep growing ideas. Well, keep those patents under active registrations!
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