Monday, July 22, 2013

Scientists in Their Own Right

Metal bowls and metal & wooden rings have been a huge hit for Cohort 7 these past couple of months.  It seems that the kids especially enjoy the contrast between materials – I’ve watched L carefully alternate between sliding metal bowls and wooden rings across the floor (noting the different sounds this makes), C will often drop both metal and wood at once, and A holds a metal bowl in one hand and a wooden ring in the other, thoroughly exploring each with her eyes and mouth. 

In these moments, the children are conducting thoughtful experiments in an effort to understand the properties of these materials.  They align the objects carefully so that they can come to understand the similarities and dissimilarities between them, discovering that metal feels colder, wood is not quite as smooth, they both roll and slide on the floor, metal makes a shrill noise when banged on the ground, etc.  Their focus shows me how seriously and deeply they are considering the relationship between these materials, as well as their own relationships to each class of objects.  In their quest to discover the rules and characteristics (both unique and shared) of each material, they are engaged in a careful scientific process that is not unlike the science adults engage in.  It is purposeful, patient, and driven.

I plan to keep the bowls and rings out in the center of the room for a while yet – as the children show continued interest in the exploration of these materials, they are telling me that they are still contemplating how to interact with them.  I am eager to see them developing relationships with these objects, and I look forward to observing the new and interesting ways they will use them & combine them with other materials!

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