Saturday, June 4, 2011

Problem solving through the seasons

Water never looses it fascination, and children always seek it out whatever the weather or season and as the temperatures have been unseasonally high we have had lots of time for exploration.  The teachers thinking had been stimulated by a photo of a water feature in another centre, and the possibilities for the stonepit started to unfold.  What if we created a waterway and channels with water conservation in mind somewhere around the stonepit area, which did not seem to be used to its potential for a while.  So the pipe construction began as an invitation for children to wonder, to investigate and problem solve, and it did not take long for their curiosity to be stimulated.

The questions began, "what was I doing?", "what would we need?", and "who could play here?".  I didn't answer all their questions, I just added that I was building something with some ideas that I had, and they were keen to help out to see what the outcome was.  I had purposefully not added any props for play.  At first they tested sticks, leaves and bark and  had some success getting them to travel down the pipes in the water flow.  

They decided to try stones which were much heavier and they noticed that they could change the water flow.  
They worked away studiously loading the pipes, both the water and the pipes were changing shape.  I prompted them to think about what might happen next, "if I turned the hose off and you had to recycle water how would you do it?"

They responded quickly with several vessels being used to collect water from the bottom trough and return it to the top pipe, and this required alot of problem solving, as some children were not tall enough to reach and pour at the same time.  It was interesting to watch the girls problem solve this one first.  
The play has continued over the week and the children have returned to problem solve, explore and think about how they can transport water. 

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