Learning Goals: STEM, Inquiry, Design, Mutually-Directed Play
What did this class do?
The students were frequently involved in free play with blocks and toy cars.
The educator extended this free play by introducing the concept of ramps.
Next, the educator providing blocks, 3D shapes, and toys cars for students to create and test their ramps.
The educator provided opportunities for students to incorporate academic expectations into their play by facilitation a knowledge building circle and by modeling the scientific method:
Knowledge Building Circle: The educator invited the students to contribute their theory and hypothesis to the inquiry question: “Which 3D shapes would roll down the ramp the fastest?” during a class discussion.
Scientific Method: The educator introduced the students to the scientific method by suggesting they test different 3D shapes to see which rolls down the ramp fastest. Students shared their observations.
Books on ramps and shapes
Why is it Inquiry Play?
The educator observed the children’s free constructive play then joined the play to guide it towards a specific goal (i.e. to build a ramp). Through the use of open-ended questioning, the educator facilitated the creation of various sized ramps and tested the effects of the ramps on different objects.
The educator did not take over the play, but rather followed the children’s lead to help guide the play towards a specific goal.