Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our First Ramp Challenge

The children are still extremely engaged with ramp building.  This past week, I decided to add a little more complexity to their building through a challenge.  On Monday, I gave them a bucket and told them their challenge was to roll a ball or marble down a ramp that dropped into the bucket at the end.  They all acknowledged the challenge, but we didn't have anyone give it a try on Monday.  On Tuesday, I reiterated the challenge and a bit of a discussion ensued about how it might work.  One of the children directed me on what to do, and not satisfied with my efforts came forward to demonstrate how I should be doing it!  Love it!!  After that, the challenge was underway and we had a number of good examples to show-off.

Here's the first ramp that met the challenge!

The next two pictures show how the children adapted their thinking and made a mental connection that met the challenge.  They first called me over to show me their ramp with the bucket.  I commented how they had incorporated the bucket into the design of the overall structure and asked them if they had tested it out to see if the ball would land in the bucket.  They did a test run and saw that it wouldn't work as designed.  They quickly re-vamped the design and came up with a working solution (which you can see second in the series of pictures).

The next two pictures also show the trial and error process at work.  If you notice, this child has the right idea, but the initial construction has the ramp on it's side and the incline going in the opposite direction of where he is placing the bucket.  After some testing and reflection, the child created a ramp that works and has drawn the interest of some of his peers.  

Watching these connections being built right in front of me is amazing.  It shows the hard work that children do through their play and exploration.  I can't wait to see what develops this week with the ramps.