Monday, January 20, 2014

Ramps, Bridges and Tunnels

       Last semester we had a new interest emerge where the children were using the blocks and cars to create roads that included bridges and tunnels. They have developed the idea that cars move over bridges and under tunnels. The children placed bridge blocks next to others to widen the bridge or lengthen the tunnel. They would then use different methods to move the cars with these blocks. Some children would push the car underneath the tunnel while others would place their hand under the tunnel and pull the car out.  
Adding multiple cars was also something the children explored with. They would connect 2 to 5 cars and discover how to move them all over the bridges and through the tunnels. The different ways that the children used to move the cars illustrated their prior knowledge on how cars move with bridges and tunnels. Some children pulled the front car from underneath the tunnel until all of the cars have made it through. Others would push the last car through, causing all of the front cars to move through the tunnel. When the children were using the bridge with the cars they would do one of two things. Some children placed the car on top of the bridge and let go, watching the car move down the bridge. Others would hold onto the car as they moved it over the bridge. This action made me curious about how they use a ramp with their pathway.
            This past week I introduced the children to a thin long piece of wooden molding that we call a slat. This slat was propped up against a chair creating a ramp. The children were given balls to roll down the ramp. I found that the children interacted with the ramp much like they did with the bridge. Some children placed the ball at the top of the ramp and observed how it moved down. Others would hold onto the ball and move it up and down the ramp, exploring the motion of the ball.
            I would like to combine ramps and tunnels and use them together. I am curious to how the students will interact with these two materials together. Will they be more focused on one than the other? Will the children find a way to move the ball using both? Does the movement of the ball change when using these two together? These are just a few of the questions I would like to explore with the children.