Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Explorations with Clay

Clay time is always a special activity the children of Cohort 13 look forward to participating in.

When we first started, I gave everyone a ball of clay to explore. I saw some excited faces, and some curious faces as each
child poked or prodded the clay in a way that helped them discover more about the properties of clay. I left this activity open
ended at first and when I saw interest beginning to wane, I demonstrated one way to squish the clay by using your fingers to
flatten it out.

Some children noticed how squishy the clay was while poking or pounding it and continued to do that while others noticed those
same qualities and ripped little pieces of the clay, making their one ball turn into several pieces.
Other children decided to explore how it tasted and quickly learned that using their hands to play with it was a more acceptable choice
and more fun as well given the bland taste of clay.

The next time we worked with clay I introduced some tools such as a pick and then a roller. Each person used the tools in a different way.
Some used the pick to poke the clay and were fascinated when the clay was sturdy enough to hold the pick in place yet flexible enough
to be ripped apart into many different pieces.
The next time we worked with clay I added a small metal bowl and metal ring into the mix. Some children pressed down the metal ring into
the clay while others used it as a container for lots of little clay pieces.
Through this child-led exploration we learn about the properties of clay by observing how it changes when it is touched and how it
stays the same. In this way each child can participate in the scientific inquiry process and learn about something not only through
observation but through exploration too.

What a great way to learn about the world around us!