In the Kinder Cohort, the educators have noticed that the caterpillar group enjoys using ramps with cars. As the educators observed their play, we saw that as they changed the ramp courses each day. It seemed as though they were looking for what would make the cars go faster. We wanted to see how it would change their play if we made some changes to the materials used to create courses and ramps.
I gathered some cardboard to create ramps, and added different materials on them to provide a variety of texture. I added some aluminum foil around one piece, and added some plastic wrap around another. The last addition was white paper rolled up into a tube.
I placed these three ramps on a bucket causing them to sit at an angle, and waited to see what the children would do with them.
As I could see the children starting to examine the new ramps, I asked them what they thought would happen as they used each different ramp.
One child said, "the aluminum foil would be to slow for the cars to go down.”
Another said, "the plastic wrap would be too bumpy with the cardboard.”
For the white paper tube, some thought it would be the best one to use.
As the children started to use the ramps, they realized that some of their ideas and predictions didn’t go as planned and they were surprised. As they explored all of the ramps with the cars, they continued talking about what was happening. They discussed how some cars would fall off of the ramp half way down. For the bumpy looking ramp, the cars would make it through. They also expressed that the white tube paper ramp worked out the best, just like what they predicted.
After experimenting with the ramps, the children would change them, and add types of toy buckets so the cars could go in at the bottom. The children also wanted to change the positions of the buckets to see what would happen. They even wanted to try having the people and animal toys to roll down the ramp to see if there would be a difference in speed compared to the cars and to their surprise, there sure was.
The caterpillars sure had fun with this experiment and they wanted to continue trying to see what other material and objects they could build with the ramps!