The introduction of clay presented the children with a whole new experience. Crushing it in a mortar, they were able to notice a rapid transformation. “Whoa, it’s sandy. It’s like a volcano. Watch the smoke. It’s smoking.”
Clay was like magic. By adding water to the powder, it transformed once again.
Chalk offered the same properties as clay and with the addition of water became a “paint” that could be spread on the body and transferred onto paper.
As we go deeper into this investigation we observe the natural materials creating a strong bond amongst the children. Their camaraderie inspires them to build upon each others ideas. In other words they are scaffolding their own learning.
We saved everything. After several months of crushing and transforming the materials, we as adults wanted to catalogue our collection in various stages of transformation. We found that the children could identify most of the materials. They described the various stages as “crunched up and not crunched up.” The very fine clay was called “pixie dust clay.
Using clay as a medium with small amounts of water.
Crunching up materials and collecting even the very small particles.
At this time we reflect upon this exploration and make these findings:
There is value in lengthy experimentation, it takes children a long time of exploration to understand something on a deeper level.
The value of children’s sensory experimentation is scientific - it may look the same every time however the understanding grows deeper.
The children have been fully engaged in the process thus far, with experiences being diverse and rich.