Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Let's Try Marbles!" - Exploring the Movement of Lazy Susans

The children found a few Lazy Susans in the classroom and were interested in the movement that they could create.  Elias suggested that we use marbles on the Lazy Susan.  We then asked the question - 

"How Will The Marble Stay on The Lazy Susan?"

The children explored the idea for a day to see what they could do to keep the marbles on the board.  They quickly came to the idea - 

"We need a railing!" 

We chose to use Citi Blocks as our railing to stop the marble from falling off the Lazy Susan.  Together, they lined up the blocks in different ways to find the best solution to our problem. Their different ideas included, a railing that was two deep, a railing that was standing up tall, and a single railing that was flat.  

All of those experiments still allowed the marble to fall off the board.  We then tried to develop new ideas together. 

Testing our Theories.....

Our next ideas included making squares to "trap" the marble and then explored the thinking of making a "track" to have the marble follow on.  Again, we tested out our theories to see if they would work.  The children worked together to build these ideas and discussed the ideas of what they wanted it to look like.

Both of these ideas still led the marble off the board and rolling on the floor. 

After a while of exploring and experimenting, the children began to represent their experiences with the marble and the Lazy Susan.  Many of the children drew circles and lines to represent their ideas of movement and circular motion.  

Emmett: "The marble moved fast off the circle.  We can't make it stay."

Colton: "I drew the blocks to block the marble.  It was on, then it went off." 

Gabe said, 

"I can make a trap for the marble." 

He decided to use the basket and the kitchen sink to trap the marble.  Spinning it as hard as he could - The marble stayed in place and didn't fall off the Lazy Susan.

On another day, Francisco and Abe explored the same idea with the same materials.  They had similiar ideas from the other group of children. 

Then they decided with Baha'a that if they piled all the blocks on top of the marble, it wouldn't be able to move or move off the board. 

"Look, it's stuck.  It's not moving!"

Francisco seemed very excited by the outcome of their decision together.  He spun the Lazy Susan around and around with only a few blocks falling off - However, the marble stayed in place. 

At Meeting Time, as a whole group - we discussed what we know about marbles to help us figure out how to solve our problem of the marble falling off.  The children decided that we need something "Sticky" to help keep the "Railing" in place so that the marble can move on the Lazy Susan. 


"We need something sticky.  Tape is sticky.  Glue is sticky. Jelly is sticky."

Working together the children used tape to stick the blocks on the Lazy Susan.  When we arranged all the blocks where we wanted them, we tested it out.  The children discovered that the tape was not sticky enough and kept on falling off the Lazy Susan with the blocks. Then the marble would fall off.  

"I think these sponges will work!"
The children taped sponges on their board, along with the Citi Blocks to protect the marble from falling off the Lazy Susan. The sponges were falling off too. However, the sponges made the marble bounce away in a different direction.  This interested the children as well.

Throughout this last experiment the children also brought up the word, MAZE.  We began to discuss what a maze was and how we could create one on the Lazy Susan to help make the marble move and keep it on the board.  

Next week we will explore what a maze is and how it works.  The children will observe and identify different mazes - thinking about how we could make it work for our problem. 

Together, the children were working on their communication skills,  problem solving skills, and figuring out the ideas of cause and effect through their different experiments during this week.