In the Yunung Room the children have been using their sense of touch to examine elements of the physical environment that surrounds them. Today the children’s interest in this area led to an investigation of weight. The discovery table had been arranged with rocks, sand and shells for the children to explore. As the children interacted with the objects, educators engaged them in conversation about how the items looked and felt. Together we determined that the shells were smooth and bumpy while the rocks were hard and rough.
Olivia lifted a large rock and let it fall on to the table, “Ooh, heavy,” remarked Elise. Educators assisted the children to extend this discovery by experimenting with the objects on the table to see which would fall faster. We found that the rock landed on the table before the shell, but the shell landed before a leaf. Later the children continued to investigate the concept of weight by using the balance scales to weigh the rocks and shells. Educators used intentional teaching techniques such as modelling their thinking aloud by asking questions such as, “I wonder which one is heavier?” to prompt the children’s critical thinking processes. After weighing the shells and rocks we began to weigh other items in the room and found that the phone weighed the same as the large shell.
Establishing early mathematical concepts and critical thinking is essential to children’s future learning and we shall continue our investigation of powerful mathematical ideas in the Yunung Room throughout the year.