wooden tray spanning the width of the table.
The question then becomes: How do the children make meaning in the process of transporting? One way is through role play. The boys pictured below set out their cookies(rocks) to dry on a drying rack(a piece of tree bark spanning a space above the table). The children even sprinkled sugar on the cookies.
Here is another example of role play. The child put some sand in a triangular container (this is an old oil pan I had in the basement). As he rolled the pan around to distribute the sand evenly across the bottom of the pan, he declared: "It's a pancake."
Pancake from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
I am intrigued by a couple of things with this video. First, how did he know that rolling around the pan distributes the sand evenly? Second, what prior experiences did he have that helped him imagine that he was making a pancake? Did he see his mom or dad make pancakes this way? Did he help make pancakes like this before?
Another way the children make meaning is to set up their own apparatus with the loose parts. In the video below, two children propped a sieve between the wooden tray and an upside down trash bin. One child poured sand into the sieve and the other caught it as it fell through the holes.
Sand through a sieve from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
I think this rivals any apparatus I have built. In a way it is superior because the children have authored it themselves.
Another way the children make meaning is to experiment with volume by filling containers. One child took four different size bowls and filled them individually.