Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Full Body Physics Experiment

Yesterday I shared what I consider to be one of the essential preschool collections: silly hats. I put large scale gutters and tubes in the same category.

Long gutters and tubes are particularly important because they almost necessitate cooperative play, both due to the fact that the 2-10 foot long pieces often need more than one set of hands to move and position, but also because you need a friend to help retrieve the balls.

I combine them with our boxes, but regular tables and chairs work just fine.

I like to make sure we have so many balls that it's impossible for one or even a group of kids to hoard them all. Yesterday, I also added balls of various sizes, which lead to other kinds of "What happens if I . . . ?" experiments, but the tennis balls are the most fun.

This is a particularly good multi-age activity, one that lends itself to increasing complexity and challenge as the children get older. 

The kids eventually dragged one of the boxes over so they
could get up higher on this one.

You can also see in these last two photos what we did

I like to make sure to give it plenty of space, because gutters and tubes, at its best, is a true full body physics experiment.

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Deborah said...

That is awesome:) It is amazing how you can take the simplest of things and teach so much!

Deborah said...

Oh, and by the way - you had so many wonderful photos to share lately that I have trouble deciding which ones to use on FB! I love it:)

Juliet Robertson said...

So will you take the guttering outside too? I consider guttering to be a necessity. I bought a nice selection from a local DIY store complete with a funnel and attachments. We seemed to spend a lot of time adding water to ours last term, and then adding objects to the water too...

What's really important in terms of creativity is to allow children to use chairs, tables, ramps and any other equipment. There's a habit in the UK to buy structures for holding up guttering, which quite frankly are an expensive waste of time and "de-funs" the whole experience.

I've been blogging a lot about The Coombs School. Last year, the school took guttering to the extreme...using blue tarp and bricks they created a canal around their whole school play ground for several weeks. So any primary school yourself to guttering too! It's not just for pre-schoolers.

MOM #1 said...

Well I'll never EVER look at gutters the same way again, LOL. What fun!

kathie said...

In my classroom when we have our tubes, ramps and gutters out we also make sure their are a variety of objects to roll. You should try metal ball bearings, spools, golf balls, marbles. The children like to see what rolls the best and if moving the tubes has any effect. I love reading your post. All the teachers at the school I work at share your post and talk about the different ideas. Thanks for sharing.

MissBobbie said...

I really really want to be a kid in your class : ) I love how much freedom you give your friends to create, explore and just be. As a preschool teacher for over 2 decades.. my philosophy has always been to guide and step aside. It doesn't happen often enough in early care centers. I applaude your love of the children, your desire to explore and the time it takes to do it all- and yes... I would love to be a kid in your class- to just be :)

Ann said...

exploratory learning...gotta love it! this is great science-in-action!

Sherry and Donna said...

I love the really long lengths of tubing you have Tom. What fun! There's something almost hypnotic about watching round object roll along a surface ... I find it happens to myself when playing with the children. We could roll the marbles down the marble run tubes all day long ... you put the marble in, it rolls down, it falls out ... you put the marble in, it rolls down, it falls out, you put the marble in, it rolls ... well I'm sure you get the picture!
Donna :) :)

Oh and not only can we see where you have put your 'super dooper sized marble painting' I think in a couple of those photos we might even be able to see where it originated too!

BTW - it looks a lot more super dooper sized on the wall that it did on the floor ... VERY IMPRESSIVE my friend!!

Deb said...

You make me want to move (we live in the middle on nowhere) so I can find a preschool like yours.

We recently went to a science museum that had a similar thing going, although they used conveyers and fancy stuff too. But the point was that one or two children couldn't do it on their own, it needed a group to keep all the stations going. The lady showing us around said it was so much fun watching kids working out why it was stopping and organising other kids to join in, they would get groups of complete strangers all working together.

kristin said...

right. on.

i've been wanting to add gutters to our classroom and this reminds me to get that done.

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