In the post from last week and on Facebook, I asked readers how they might change the apparatus to cut down on the mess. A couple people took up the challenge with some good ideas of their own. I actually decided to riff on a couple of ideas from Teacher Sam. One of his ideas was to open up the bottom box and have corn from the tubes drop into the base box.
So the children could pour the corn into the base box, Teacher Sam suggested I cut a couple of holes in the top of the base box. Instead of cutting the holes, I cut the notches in the tubes to different lengths.
To cut down on the mess, Teacher Sam suggested I remove the top of the top box so if the children missed the holes of the tubes, the corn would just fall in the top box. I liked that idea, but I wasn't quite sure how to make it sturdy. Instead, I attached another box on top of the box with the embedded tubes to serve as a catchment for the corn that did not go down the tubes. I cut off the top of the box and cut holes to match the cardboard tubes that were embedded in the box underneath. The box was a sturdy black box that was made sturdier by taping it to the box underneath.
Was there still spilling? Of course, you cannot invite children to transport and expect them not to spill (see axiom #1 and it's corollary in the right hand column of this blog).
By the way, the other ideas that people offered were not lost. Either they will use them for their own purposes or I can see myself riffing off of their ideas to make a completely different apparatus. For me, this is adult play that is analogous to children's play. It is not quite the same, because adults have more experience with the materials and can do more manipulations in their heads. For children, the play process is all through their hands as they build their knowledge of the materials and what they can and cannot do with the materials.
In any case, thanks for playing.