Earlier this week we collected some cardboard tubes, some narrow and some very wide. It was a pretty exciting moment for many of the children. After some discussions about how we could use these tubes we took advantage of Sam's dad Nigel, asking him to screw some hooks into the ceiling for us so that the tubes could be suspended down for marble tracks.
This truly captured the children's imagination, and all week this area has been a hive of activity.
The idea of sending a projectile down a tube has captured the attention of almost all the children at some point over the week, a great way to explore cause and effect and experience gravity and force.
A variety of objects have been fed down the tubes ranging from ping pong balls, cars, wooden people, and a koosh ball, however it was discovered that the marbles were definitely the most successful object.
As the play has developed, so too have the roles of the children. Some are natural gatherers, dashing around to collect the scattered marbles, whilst others took on the responsibility of making traps to try to catch the marbles as they shot out the end.
Negotiation, patience and turn taking skills have also been tested and developed as the children practised social skills in order to play successfully and co-operatively.
As the week has progressed and the tubes have been further experimented with, being placed at different heights, sometimes even needing the large step ladder to access them, we have considered with the children what else we can do with the tubes? Today's idea was to make a smaller scale marble run. Looking online for some ideas we printed off some plans to work by.
'Experiencing technological practice: The process starts with a desire to do something (intentionality), and involves the planning (what to do, how to do it, what do we need, how much time, materials, expertise do we have), the making of the product/system and an evaluation of how well the final outcome meets our initial expectations.'
'An important area of teacher involvement in technological practice is in the planning stage. Pertinent questioning by teachers allows children to crystalize their ideas' (B. Mawson)
Experiencing conceptual (minds on) and procedural (hands on) knowledge assists in success.
Working in small groups we experienced lots of trial and error, along with some some fantastic problem-solving as we thought about where to put the tubes so that the marbles could successfully travel down the run.
Although we may have initially designed this structure with marbles in mind, the creative minds of the children soon meant we had cars, large glass beads and many other interesting objects speeding along the run.
I particularly loved this idea of hot glueing a cork to the top of a pipe to stop the marble flying off the end as it careered down the tube.
What other concepts will be explored next with the pipes?