Friday, July 8, 2011
Fun Waterfall Play/Water Enginners
Children found intricate ways to create new challenges.
Yogurt containers make great strainers.
What’s so amazing about this? Playing with water? The contraption? The chance to change the course of their study and practice creativity? Testing their ideas with others? Learning to work well with the group? Using new vocabulary? Learning how to use math in context? All of the above!! Children discover and learn about the most amazing things with this contraption. They ask really deep questions and do what it takes to answer them. Generous amounts of time give them plenty of opportunities to engage in deep inquiries with it. Oh, and the wonderful learning that happens as a result of trial-and-error! There are hidden learning secrets in water : )
Anything that you can use to weave plastic tubes, and secure water traveling objects (i.e.: grid shelves, plastic baskets that have holes all around them, or closet shelves (see pictures below)
Shelf end caps – can’t stress this enough if you decide to use them. The tips are very, very sharp and can badly hurt little hands
Home made funnels
Loose plastic tube to siphon the water – drop us a note if you want a video of how to make this work
Water Pump (used soap bottles work really well)
Turkey basters – great for fine motor
PVC tubes from your local hardware store
Cups of various sizes
Sponges – they are especially handy if you don’t have cups available.
“Zip Ties”, or “Cable Ties” (they can be easily found in your local hardware store)
Large bottle caps (from laundry detergent bottles, for example)
Table if your child prefers to stand up
Large plastic tub to keep the water and contraption together
Recycled containers that you have attach to the contraption to make things more interesting for children
Safety set-up: especially if you use this indoors: an old rag, towel, or something that absorbs inevitable spills. Children can easily slip when they move around the table/contraption.
Next steps included but were not limited to:
>Charting how long it took them to make water fall from the top of the contraption to the bottom, how many cups to fill a funnel when holding the end closed, or simply comparing how many cups of water they had at the beginning and at the end of each study;
>Race beads through the tubes (that was a lot of fun!);
Ways to make water go up (including blowing in the tubes as you saw in the video; this started some discussions about pump bottles);
>Ways to recycle the water at the end of the activity;
>Document their learning with drawings;
>Publish “water engineering” books to take home at the end of the year. These “Water Engineering Books” included a comprehensible collection of drawings and pictures of their “contraption action” inventions.