Friday, November 25, 2011

This Looks Like Something To Knock Down

































I found myself with extra time on my hands while setting up for Wednesday's 3-5's class, so I built this structure.


I thought, You know what this looks like? It looks like something to knock down. And doesn't it, though?

I used to build "starter buildings" in our block area every morning, usually not this elaborate, but with the idea of getting the kids off to a running start. I stopped doing it when I finally realized that, inevitably, among the first two or three kids through the door there would be one who would knock it down, usually by kicking it. 

One of our rules is that you can only knock down a building you built yourself unless you ask the person who built it first, usually expressed as, "This is not a knocking down building," or "This is a knocking down building."


Connor was one of the first in the room. He tried to walk up them like a stairway, but without knocking them over.

Luca was next. While telling me about his adventures getting to school in the rain, he inadvertently kicked out the blue, yellow, and pink blocks supporting one of the lower corners of the structure. Amazingly the rest of the structure remained standing, leaving a cantilever of three blocks. I said, "This construction technique is called a cantilever." Connor and Luca looked at it without comment.


And in fact, the structure was never knocked down, but instead was cannibalized for other building projects until it no longer existed. 


Violet built a large building adjacent to one of those big orange boxes you can see in the pictures, large enough to stand in. She demonstrated how she could jump off the box to land inside her building without knocking down the walls.

River complained to me, "Violet used all the blocks and I don't have any." Violet overheard him.

I said, "You'll have to talk to her. She built a building to jump into."

River and Violet took turns jumping into the building without knocking it down, then Violet said, "We can knock it down now," which they did, together.


Parker brought his grandpa to class on Wednesday who, while watching the kids build, joked, "Do the adults get to play with these blocks when the kids are done?" I answered, "The adults get to play with the blocks right now!" which was all the invitation he needed to drop to the floor and get busy with his grandson. The next time I returned to the block area, they had, with the help of friends, erected an impressive edifice, with windows employing the cantilever technique, that again used nearly all of the blocks.

No one complained and when it was clean up time, everyone helped knock it down.


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