Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Dump It! Dump It! Dump It!"

Almost every day now, I'm hauling more of our "indoor toys" into our outdoor classroom. This week it has been our PVC pipe collection. Several years ago I bought a bunch of pipe, along with various "elbow," "T," and "X" fittings. I spent an afternoon cutting the pipe into four standard lengths and voila! we had a new construction set. And although we've had this set for several years, and although we've dropped hundreds of marbles into our complicated pipe constructions to "see where they come out," we've never used them for their intended purpose of carrying water from one place to another.

After the fun of our accidental great flood on Friday, I decided to intentionally recreate it for class on Monday, so we had the exciting combination of standing water and pipe. The kids eagerly grabbed lengths of pipe, carried them to the water, intuiting that they somehow went together, but all they were coming up with on their own was to either use the pipe to splash the water or to toss it in and watch sink.

In keeping with our new strategy of a bit more adult leadership in our outdoor construction area, Isak's mom Leslie and I consulted. Our idea was to get some basic plumbing started on/in our "beach hut," and let the children take it from there. We used garden twine to lash some pipe to to one of the uprights . . .


. . . then added a large funnel to the top . . .


. . . and a valve to the bottom . . .



. . . then demonstrated how it worked by pouring a bucket of water into the funnel. The children wanted to do their own pouring so they dragged over our step ladder . . .


. . . and the fun began. They added more pipe . . .


. . . using blocks and logs to prop their contraption up . . .




. . . until it reached well into the sand pit . . .


The kids took turns filling their buckets at the water pump, while their classmates waited in the sand pit, digging channels in which the water could flow, expressing their impatience by breaking into cheerleader-like chants of "Dump it! Dump it! Dump it!"

I had to dismantle part of the rig yesterday, but reassembled it before leaving school so the kids would find it exactly as they left it. It'll be fun to see how this evolves.

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5 comments:

Scott said...

When we use PVC pipes to build, the boys are always suggesting I bring water to pour through it. Your kids are getting to do it! Fun!

Your outdoor classroom is getting more and more varied. I bet they're learning so much.

Life with Kaishon said...

It looks like so much fun. I love how your outdoor classroom is growing and growing. Exciting to watch.

CreativeSTAR said...

I agree - your blog is a lovely visual diary of development. It's great too in that you are really developing construction and design. I wonder what your children will end up doing as adults...

Sherry and Donna said...

Oh boy Tom ... I gotta get me some of that pipe ... Between your pipe idea and Jenny's water wall I see there could be busy times ahead ... and soooo much fun!

As I'm struggling to find a water pump (turns out the one I found had an electric pump ... yuk!) I'm turning my thoughts to other water sources. These two ideas are definitely up there right now!

Cheers, Donna :) :)

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