One chilly afternoon, a child from Cohort A noticed a shovel laying in the snow and lightly stepped on the shovel side resulting in the soft fluffy snow to slip right off. The child began to manipulate the shovel to find how they could make the snow fly up off the shovel into the air. The educator noticed that this child wanted to take it to the next level, so they offered help in trying again! By moving the shovel around and testing out different places step, along with different amounts of pressure, the child realized that if they stepped on shovel end with some force that the snow would catapult up into the air! Unfortunately soon after, the child had to go home but the fun didn't stop there.
The next day the child continued to explore how to use the shovel as a catapult! The child grabbed a shovel and covered it with small snow blocks. They needed a bit of direction on where to place the blocks, but with some help they placed 2 bigger blocks of snow under the shovel handle about a quarter way down to force the shovel to incline. Next, they covered the shovel scoop end with smaller snow blocks and once the child had the catapult ready to go, they stepped on the shovel handle and watched the snow fly up high! The child was quite excited by what they saw!
By the third day, the child had it pretty down pat and was telling the educator exactly what they needed help with in order for the catapult to work. The child expressed that they would need about 10 blocks for the scoop side and a couple more for underneath the shovel handle and asked the educator for some help gathering the snow blocks. At one point, the child placed snow blocks on both sides of the shovel and covered the handle. The child said, “Look! It’s a see-saw.”
Through this experience, we decided to bring life to catapults indoors and let the children try and build their own. A table was set up with big popsicle sticks, smaller popsicle sticks, paper cups, rubber bands and glue. This brought all of the children in cohort A together and they were able to practice their problem solving skills as they manipulated the materials into their own catapult designs! Of course once the catapults were complete we needed to test them out. The children quickly learned the power of gravity as they experimented with different items on the lower end of the catapult. We used different materials such as rubber bands, marbles, buttons and dominos to try figure out which ones would be able to make it the furthest!
As the week went on, the children came back to Dawn and Dusk with stories about how they were able to use their catapults at home. We may have a few future designers in Cohort A, as one child explained that they used their catapult to dispense dog treats for their dog to catch in the air!