Monday, February 3, 2014

Tube Exploration

We finished up several rolls of wrapping paper around my house this past holiday season.  I gave a few to my nephew to play with along with some pom poms I had at home.  He enjoyed putting them through the tube and seeing how they came out.  He liked leaning the tubes on the stairs to watch the pompoms roll out.  So I gathered the tubes and brought them back to the classroom with me.

To create this provication center I placed several kinds of balls or objects that rolled in baskets.  We had ping pong balls, golf balls, wiffle balls, pompoms and some large marbles.  The tubes were several thicknesses of wrapping paper tubes as well as paper towel and toilet paper tubes.  

I cut some of the tubes length wise.  There was also a basket of masking tape and scissors.  Some of the tubes were pre-taped to the walls of the furniture in that area making a ball maze. 

Then we gave them time to explore the materials each day.

They removed the few tubes I had taped on the wall to make room for their own creations.  It was fascinating to watch them try and secure the tubes onto the wall with various taping strategies.  Just getting the tape off the dispensers was a challenge for some requiring some problem solving and often team work.  

There was a lot of physics exploration as they tried to figure out how to get the balls to roll from one tube to another or to roll out of the tubes depending on how they were facing.


One time two boys spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to get a ball to roll in to another tube. They were trying to get it to roll UP.  Their solution was to keep adding more tape to the outside of the tube.


I was trying to guide their thinking with various open ended questions such as what happens to the ball when you put it in the tube?  Where does it go?  Where do you want it to go?  What happens to the ball in this tube (pointing to a tube facing downward)?  I did not tell them how to fix the problem.  I gave them questions to think about, had them look at their surroundings and gave them the time and space to problem solve.


Sometimes this involved being very flexible with other centers in the classroom that needed to take a backseat to their increasingly growing inventions.  

This activity encouraged problem solving, team work, evaluation, construction, synthesis, comparison, trial and error and many other higher order thinking skills.  It was also exciting and inviting....and 

So start saving those wrapping paper, paper towel and toilet paper rolls!  Share with us what your children do with them.  

1 comment:

  1. Dana,

    This old Aunt always saved paper towel rolls and wrapping paper tubes. Great for making tunnels for matchbox cars, tooting horns, "boobing" your brothers and yes rolling balls through them. They can also be use to set up stages for "dolls" whether they are "guy" dolls like GI Joes or the more feminine kind like "Wonder Woman"!. Don't know is I asked open ened questions but my boys did have fun. Now it's on to the grandchildren for me.