And around! This last installment adds a new “piece” to our ramp study: what happens when we add curves and loops to ramps? Can we still call them ramps?
After practicing with steep and soft inclines, and ramps like the ones you saw in parts 1 and 2, it feels quite freeing to see children experimenting with different directions by adding curves and loops. They understand concepts like going up and down and how much speed a marble needs versus a golf ball in order to travel down these “loopey” ramps. Are they steep, or slanted? All this wonderful vocabulary that they learn and/or generate as a result of these experiences is quite rich! They start noticing places around them that function in much the same way. And by drawing these connections, children are expanding their understanding of the world around them, learning to answer their own questions and keeping their curiosity intact: all through playful inquiry!
In part 3, notice that one of the children draws a projected path that he tried to re-create from the blueprint onto the wall. He also improvised by adding to the original design. This beginning “symbolic literacy” is quite important for children. These are giant steps that take them into a world or reading and writing that will change their lives forever. The more they practice making connections with materials in this playful and open-ended way, the more competence they will build. This competence helps them in all areas of their development. Add time for exploration and ta-da!!
This ends our three-part series. Stay tuned for more videos that illustrate the practice of using multiple entry points to children’s learning.
Set-Up for Episode #16:
- Pipe insulation foam (around $0.97 at our local hardware store)
- marbles, tennis table balls or anything that will roll down ramps
- Recycled cups for catching these balls
After this experimentation with ramps, loops and balls, the boys decided to find a name for the “marble chute” and by the time some neighborhood kids came over, we were “open for business.” And let me offer an interesting piece of information: a couple of adults also had a grand time experimenting with these ramps (did you catch my drift?).
Asking the children to explain to others what the process involved is a great way to revisit and reshape concepts. Take this ramp outside, or keep half inside and half outside. Who knows what you and your children will come up with? Enjoy!
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