In this post, let me show you some of the exploration with the tube inclines. Just to be clear, you do not need an apparatus to explore the sand in the table. There is always a lot going on that has nothing to do with the apparatus and everything to do with the materials provided.
Let's see, though, how the apparatus affords so much more in terms of exploration. There are added physical challenges.
Sometimes those physical challenges require cooperation and coordination. Watch as these two boys try to pour a full bowl of sand down one of the tubes.
1-2-3 Lift! from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
When you saw the video, what was your reaction when the boys dropped the heavy bowl? Was that too dangerous to allow? When I watched these boys, I was amazed at the amount of coordination, cooperation, and minute adjustments it took to complete their self-appointed task. Did you notice in the last frame of the video the orange sand in the boy's hair?
Sometimes the apparatus allows for some very imaginative play. In the next video, the sand sliding down the tube represents a melting train.
Melting train from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
Earlier in the week, some of the children were imaging the sand flowing down the tube as hot lava. That is easy for an adult to comprehend. But a melting train? Only in a child's mind---and I can appreciate that.
Sometimes the apparatus allows for the unique combination of the various elements. This boy has figured out a method of pouring the sand down the tube without using his hands. How inventive is that?
An apparatus creates an inviting and unique space for exploration. Whether an apparatus is vertical, horizontal, on an incline, or any combination of the three, I trust the children to make it their own and create new and novel operations. By relying on their agency, I do not need to manage their behavior. I can observe and when I observe, I see that what they are doing is not inconsequential.