Welcome to Shapeland! Kinderland has been excited to build Shapeland using 3D shapes with blocks, tree blocks, rocks, and cut up pool noodles with long tooth pics and skewers. Our early learners began exploring shapes through play and then their own inquiries. They added materials as they wanted to use them. This constructivist approach enabled our learners to investigate, challenge their understandings, construct knowledge, and bring meaning to their world. This open-ended provocation is a simple way to encourage creativity, questioning, and problem-solving.
Some of our kinders created an amusement park complete with a ferris wheel. This ferris wheel did not begin as such. At first this particular learner was using the materials provided and exploring the shapes through play. She poked the skewers around the cylinder one at a time until she made a connection to her prior knowledge (i.e. the Huntsville Fall Fair). It wasn’t until this moment that her creation actually became a ferris wheel. It was through feeling the contour of the cylinder that she made meaning. When this learner communicated her connection it sparked the interest of others and they began to expand on her awesome idea. Other amusement park rides began to pop up as well.
Some even created creatures and visitors to visit Shapeland. They began to tell stories of the adventures these visitors had.
Since pool noodles are buoyant our early learners were interested in taking their designs to the water table. They started designing boats, pirate ships, and cruisers. A rich dialogue about balance and weight naturally unfolded through their planning, organizing, and problem-solving since the cylinders rolled in the water.
We educators added some pine cones for trees and paper towel roll trees to bring a more nature-based feeling to it.
Through knowledge building circle time where we share and reflect on our learning we discussed our appreciation for how builders use cylinders in supports, silos on farms, and modern buildings. Playing with these materials challenged our thinking about how manufacturers bend building materials (i.e. metal and wood) to make these cylindrical round frames.