Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sugar Cube Explorations

Sugary Sweet Construction
We were inspired by a sensory bin on Pinterest that included sugar cubes as it's base. 
Since the children were still exploring their ideas around building, constructing and
manipulating materials we decided we would create an invitation for the children to
explore with sugar cubes. We set up the invitation at the table next to the sensory bin.
At the table we placed two boxes of sugar cubes, the wooden cutting board, a clipboard
and pencils. We were so excited to see what the children would create and build with
the sugar cubes. We like to add paper and pencil to most of our invitations to play so
that the children can record their ideas or wonderings.
Joshua was eager to explore with the sugar cubes. He began by placing the cubes
around the perimeter of the wooden board. When play block was over he asked if he
could save his work for the following day. He printed this message, "Do not touch"
and left it at the table.

The following day other children became interested in Joshua's work. This often
happens as the children share their ideas and wonderings with each other. Nico,
Gianmarco and Jaxen helped Joshua build with the sugar cubes. They worked
together adding rows of sugar cubes stacked on each other.
The boys showed great perseverance as often the cubes would fall. Each time they
worked together to restack the sugary walls of the their construction. They
continued to work until they had used all the sugar cubes provided.

Claire was working with the sugar cubes. Lauren asked her about her sugar cube
structure. Claire shared that she was making a city of skyscrapers. Then she
continued to work on her design.

Makenna and Jazlyn worked together placing all the sugar cubes in this artful display.
William and Nathan explained that they were building a house. They said it would
be giant and have people inside. Then they explained that is was square shaped.

William shared that he was building a tower. Then he counted, "1,2,3." Next
he knocked his tower over. Then Nathan said, "This looks like candy." I asked
them what they thought it was. William wondered if it was sugar. I told them
it was sugar cubes.

The boys continued their explorations with the sugar cubes. They began creating
animals. William built dogs and Nathan shared that he had made a chicken.
To conclude their sugar construction William created a person.
The children continued to choose to work with the sugar cubes for the next several
weeks. Each child would bring new ideas and construction to this open ended play.

Lauren placed each cube carefully on the board. When she was finished I asked her
about her work. She shared, "I put them in lines connected." Next she counted the
cubes and stated, "There are 21 of them."

Matthew built this structure during play block. I encouraged him to record his structure
on the white board. He explained how he built with the sugar cubes and asked if he
could keep his structure on the board for the next day. Matthew printed a sign and
placed it next to his structure on the board.

When we began our animal inquiry we moved the sugar cubes to another area of the
classroom on a small table. We changed the items with the sugar cubes and put the
 silver tray and spoon as a simple invitation for further work with the cubes. The table is
closer to the kitchen space and science area. It has been interesting to see the children add
to the work space. They have included the tweezers and sugar bowl to this display. Their
explorations continue and just the other day. Matthew used the spoon to scrape one of
the cubes into the sugar bowl. When he was finished he said, "Miss I made sugar."
This exploration has shown us so many of the expectations from the Full Day Early Learning Program. The children have worked together developing personal and social skills. They have also demonstrated many mathematical skills as they have counted, sequenced and matched cubes using one to one correspondence. We have also seen literacy in their printing of the do not touch signs. As well as all of the oral language skills used to describe, discuss and share their ideas.