This year, I made an addition to the cardboard chutes. I added another set of smaller packing corners on either side of the original apparatus.
Unlike the original packing corners whose ends were duct taped closed, these new packing corners were left open. When you leave open holes on an apparatus, the children will find them and use them (Axiom # 5 on the right).
I also added a new element this year. I added sticks. These are river sticks that look like they have been whittled. But no, they are sticks that have had the bark chewed on by an animal. See the teeth marks?
One of the main endeavors for the children with the new "wings" was to put the river sticks down the long, narrow holes of the hollow chutes. Watch.
The boy in the video seems pretty pleased with putting the sticks in the hole to make them disappear.
Of course, since the sticks were different thicknesses, they sometimes got stuck and needed some problem solving to be dislodged.
The child began by taking a small stick out, but nothing happened. She then pulled out another stick and that dislodged the rest. She did notice another stick in the upper chamber of the chute. She tried to get it out, but ended up pushing back into the chute a bit more.
The addition of the "wings" to the original apparatus has now created an apparatus that incorporates both dimensions under #3 of the Dimensions and Elements on the right hand column of this blog. That is, the apparatus is both open and closed. Objects go down the chutes because of the elemental force of gravity. That process is experienced differently by the children depending on whether that happens on the open chutes or in the closed chutes. With the original, open chutes, all the action of objects going down the chute can be tracked visually. The objects going down the closed chute disappear and reappear. For some of the children it is simply a scheme to make objects disappear down the hole. For some it is to track objects by putting them in at the top and looking for them to come out at the bottom. And for some, it was a joint venture in which one child will put the objects down the chute and another child attempts to catch them. For the open chutes, the children do not have to imagine the motion of the objects going down the chute. For the closed chutes, however, the children have to infer the motion because the objects disappear. Almost sounds like a higher order thinking skill.
For those of you in the Twin Cities, you may want to make a note of an upcoming event by the Reggio-Inspired Network of Minnesota taking place at Hamline University on Saturday, April 28. The title of the event is: Enter, Encounter, Engage: A Community Dialogue about Learning. I will be doing an installation with some documentation. There will also be exploration of nature materials facilitated by Dodge Nature Center and exploration of sound and rhythm materials facilitated by Dianna Babcock. Follow this link for more details and a complete listing of the day: http://www.mnreggio.org