November 2, 2016

As we begin our third month of school, we're entering the provocations phase for our future investigation. Provocations are an opportunity for us to learn more about children's thinking and prior knowledge. For these activities, we'll provide carefully chosen materials to provoke a particularly type of thinking/play that we think the children might be interested in. We've heard many children talk about transportation and movement, and so this week we planned a movement/path making provocation in the afternoons. We got out the ramp-shaped hollow blocks, along with corks, tint blocks (colored blocks that can connect), and stones. We hypothesized that children would use the corks to roll down the ramp to explore motion, and that they could make a train track with the tint blocks. Despite our predictions, we strive during provocations to observe and ask open ended questions. Since our goal is to learn about their thinking and interests, we don't want to influence the children and ask leading questions. 

Today, the provocation yielded talk of a vampire house with a path leading up to it, though a few moments later the path turned into a train track! The children built the train tracks up the ramp and then back down, making a "bridge" where the two hollow blocks came together. We're interested to do this provocation tomorrow with a different group of children to see if they end up playing a similar game.