Thursday, October 07, 2010

Homeschool: block play

One thing we're working on a lot with Mr. T in school this year is building. Building with all sorts of materials, making all sorts of things. So the other day I worked with just him, going through a series of questions/challenges that I got from a wonderful book on Piaget's tasks called Sciencing. Here are summaries of the questions I posed and the structures he built as a result:

Can you build a barn? I am a horse (you can see the horse inside), how could you keep me from getting out of my barn? What if the horse wants to run away? (he built a fence with my help)
Here are two train stations (the 2 cube blocks) - can you build a track to connect them? Now, how can you connect the track to a third station? [I thought it was interesting that he is still using nontraditional blocks to solve some of these problems. For example, he used a cylindrical block for one of the tracks and it kept rolling away. We talked a lot about it but he decided to keep it and just tightly pack it in so it didn't roll as much.]
Now here's a river (the blue blocks). How can we get the train over the river? [Again, he solved this problem in a very non-traditional - and not very stable! - way, but it was a workable solution nonetheless.]
This was a really fun challenge. I took a car and asked him to completely, completely cover it up. This was much harder than it initially sounds. It actually took quite a long time for him to find a way to fit all different sizes of blocks together to (almost completely) cover it. It was fun to do this with him and peek around and shout, "I can still see it over here! How are you going to cover this hole?" He was very motivated by this task. The next 2 pictures are of the finished structure from a couple different angles.

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