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Experimenting with the Mathematical Concept of Balance in SK

Today Inquiring Minds brings you a glimpse into Richland’s Senior Kindergarten class to appreciate the complex learning taking place among the children. Thank you to Mrs. Daniel for her rich observations and insightful documentation.

Over the past few months, many of the children have been drawn to experiment with the mathematical concept of balance.  They have sought out, and used a variety of materials to investigate, including pencils, wooden cylinders, mirrors with hinges, and building blocks.

Usually they begin to explore alone, but often another child observes and is drawn in. It involves much problem solving, discussion and negotiation to ensure each new object is placed in a position which does not cause the others to fall.  This activity results in deep concentration and focus for a sustained period of time.  It enables the children to experience both ‘success’ and ‘failure’ through an authentic and pleasurable activity.Failure often leads to greater success, as the children persevere and their balanced structures become more complex. In the top set of pictures, we see G. using one mirror initially as a ‘scale’.  Once the original items topple, he continues by building a ‘wider base so it is stronger”, and adds a second mirror to his experiment following the same principle.

In the second set of pictures G. returns to the table, and seeks out new materials to test.  This time his interest shifts from balancing to the more exciting experience of ‘toppling’!!  In another part of the room, M. is experiencing the same result. 

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