After over a week of horsing around with our scientific exploration of pendulums, interest had definitely petered out by close of business on Monday. After class I set about dismantling our remaining PVC pipe painting pendulum . . .
. . . as well as the block tower destroyer . . .
. . . but then started thinking about all the effort I'd put into devising them and the hassle of returning all the parts to where they belong. I prefer to think of it as being economical with my own physical energy, not laziness, that got me thinking about how I could repurpose what we already had for the rest of the week.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I recalled, vaguely, pictures of a certain apparatus that just might serve to allow me to leave for lunch without exerting myself any longer in the classroom. That afternoon I dropped by Goodwill, where I found a large bin full of orphaned lids from pots and pans. On Wednesday morning we carried the pendulum skeletons, some string and the various lids to the outdoor classroom and converted them into the first stage of what I think will evolve into a new Woodland Park outdoor feature: "The Sound Garden."
As you can imagine, all we needed to add was some old silverware, bamboo, fly swatters, rubber spatulas, and a miscellany of other stick-like objects, and we had ourselves a big, loud time.
I highly recommend the high-pitched resonance of that small, red cast-iron lid.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about how the pendulum that I'd built for the purpose of knocking down small blocks had been a flop with the Pre-3 class. The group of boys who had been attracted to it were far more interested in holding onto the horizontal parts, then bouncing it up and down until it broke, than they were the pendulum effects. That same group of boys on Friday, "sticks" in hand, were the ones who had the most fun in the Sound Garden, creating a big time cacophony without breaking anything but the peace.
Our classroom is an acoustically challenged place, which has lead to my being judicious in making musical and other sound producing implements available indoors. I'm kind of shocked that I'm only just now realizing that, duh, one of the advantages of being an urban preschool is that we can make all the noise we want outside, and our neighbors probably won't even hear it, let alone complain.
And for those of you who are interested, I'm borrowing the name Sound Garden from the Dave Hollis sculpture "A Sound Garden" that resides on grounds of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility here in Seattle (which is where the band Soundgarden got its name as well). Hollis' piece is designed to take advantage of the winds along Lake Washington to produce a variety of eerie, dissonate sounds.
Courtesy of NOAA