About Me

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Early childhood education has been my life for over 30 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

PVC pipes and flex tubing

Two weeks ago I wrote about an apparatus I called the rocking chair waterfall.  I called it a rocking chair waterfall because it was made from bentwood parts of a rocking chair.

The bentwood pieces gave the apparatus the curve.  I attached a toner deposit with holes drilled in the bottom to direct the flow of water down the curved incline to produce the waterfall effect.

I attached the apparatus to a base that consisted of a wooden tray and a green plastic crate.  The tray spanned the width of the table and was duct taped to the lip of the table.  The green plastic crate was then taped to the tray.

Because this was such a good base, I could not pass up the opportunity to add more things to the base on the opposite side of the waterfall apparatus.  The crate allowed me to set up some PVC pipes on an incline and the holes in the crate allowed me to thread some flex tubes into a simple tangle inside the crate.
PVC pipe #1 was taped on an incline so it emptied into the brown planter tray attached to the smaller clear water table.  PVC pipe #2 wast taped to the side of the crate on an incline.  A clear plastic tube was taped to it so it emptied into the clear water table. Flex tube #1 started at the top of the crate and wound its way through the crate, along the outside of the crate and then under the wooden tray to empty back into the blue sensory table.  Flex tube #2 started at the top and immediately exited through the front of the crate and ran along its side to empty into the black tub at the end of the table. Here is a closer look inside the crate to see how the flex tubes were arranged.

Pouring water down the flex tubing made for a more intriguing operation.  Pouring water became an opportunity for the children to create a theory about where the water goes.   That was not so obvious because when a child poured water into one of the tubes, the tubes actually crossed paths inside the crate.  Watch how one child tried to figure out where the water went when he poured water into one of the tubes.   When he first poured the water into the tube, he stepped down to look see if the water came out the tube on the other side of the table next to waterfall apparatus.  He was not entirely convinced that was where the water came out, so he proceeded to look at the tubes in the crate from various angles: from below, from in front and from the side.  He came up with a theory that the water emptied back into the blue table from the tube under the wooden tray.  His actions became more purposeful because as he poured, he focused on the end of the that tube.

His theory was wrong.  Just to be sure, though, he grabbed the end of the tube under the wooden tray and bent it down just to see if any water came out.  Eventually he figured out the path of the water through the tubes through more theory building and testing.

To be sure, children also know how to make pouring down a straight incline intriguing, too.  Take for example this child who decided to see if he could both pour and catch the water down the PVC pipe at the same time.
This child knew the water went down and out the pipe because he had poured water several times into the top of the pipe to track the path of the water.  He then challenged himself to see if he could do two operations simultaneously.  Is that a self-reflexive theory?  In any case, he could.

I often tell people that my sensory table is my science table.  Children are constantly creating theories about how the physical world works and testing those theories in real time.  Some theories are not confirmed and some are.  The important thing is the process of experimenting. 

I would like to leave you with a photo of a discovery made by a child at the table with this apparatus.  The thing is, the discover relates to axiom #7 in the right hand column of this blog:  Children will always devise new and novel activities and explorations with the materials presented that are tangential to the apparatus itself.
Besides that his hand looks orange, can you guess what this child has discovered through the process of experimenting with this bottle of orange water? 



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Where do my ideas come from?

This is not a post about how I come up with ideas for building apparatus.  Rather, this is a post about the process of writing this blog and what I choose to write about.  It follows directly on the heals of my last post which asked the question: How do children express their ideas?  The inspiration for that blogpost came from the Family Time blog of the Huffington Post UK.  The title of the November 15, 2015 blogpost was: How art and play can work wonders for your child's development.  One sentence from the blogpost stood out to me when the author quoted Sarah Cressall, a person who promotes art and craft workshops.  The sentence reads: "If we only teach our children information, we are failing them.  We need to equip them with the skills to explore ideas, and to have the confidence to experiment, problem solve and work out their own solutions."

I actually latched on to only one phrase in that quote: "We need to equip them with the skills to explore ideas..."  My first reaction was that the children already have the skills to explore their own ideas, they just need the time, space and materials with which to explore---and express---their ideas.  I then asked the question: How do children express their ideas in the context of the sensory table?

At that point, I was not even sure what constituted the expression of an idea at the sensory table.  I have been in the field of early childhood long enough to know that so often what is valued as an expression of an idea is something that is representational, i.e., a drawing, a painting, a clay sculpture. In the act of exploration at the sensory table, though, how do children express their ideas?

I began to look over my documentation of a recent apparatus, the rocking chair waterfall.  In looking over the pictures and videos, the different ways the children used a watering can with a long neck caught my attention.  I was struck by they way they appropriated it for their own use mainly by asking nonverbal questions through their exploration of the watering can.  I thus equated the children asking questions to them expressing their ideas.  The expressions were truly in the fluid process of exploring, not in any product per se.

Since I found it fruitful to examine where my ideas came from, I wanted to further use the documentation to see if I could get some insight into where a child may have gotten just one idea.  The idea I decided to explore was the idea of using the watering can to plug the hole in the bottom of the brown planter tray.
The child on the right plugged the hole in the bottom of the tray with one of the maroon watering cans.  What could have possibly led to the idea of jamming the spout of the watering can through the hole of the planter tray?  Looking back on the pictures from that day, this is what I found.  The pictures are in sequence.

The child first explored pouring water from the watering can.  Interestingly, he used the hole in the top container of the rocking chair waterfall.  Of course, children by their very nature are compelled to put things in holes (Axiom #5 in the right hand column of the blog).
In the next picture, the boy had moved to the other end of the table and was closely examining how the water flowed out from the hole in the bottom of the planter tray.
In addition to examining how the water flowed out of the hole, he affected the flow by blocking the hole with his hand.
The next picture in the sequence had the child back exploring the watering can.  He took a funnel and placed it over the end of the spout of the watering can.  He then talked into the funnel to hear how this newly invented contraption changed the sound of his voice.  (Where did that idea come from?)
At this point, he again examined the water flowing through the bottom of the hole.  His careful examination of that hole allowed him to see the thin film of water created by surface tension.
The next picture in the sequence brings us right back to the one I started with, the one that prompted the question: For a child, where does the idea come from to plug the hole in the bottom of the brown planter tray?

Did I answer the question?  I think there can only be a partial answer.  I do think the pictures portray an irresistible narrative.  However, there are still too many things missing.  The sequence a pictures takes place over a span of 30 minutes.  Those snapshots can only capture moments.  Maybe there were more compelling actions in between the moments that I missed because my attentions still had to be on the whole classroom.  An example of a moment that was missed was the point at which he picked up the watering can and inserted it into the hole. Was the action an effort to poke a hole in the surface tension tension of the water covering the hole?  Even more intriguing are unknown factors that contributed to his disposition to examine and explore  Also, since the classroom and the sensory table encompass a social milieu, how did others nurture his quest to cultivate new ideas with the materials?

Thank you for indulging me as I played with these ideas.  I see playing with the ideas analogous to children playing with the objects and the setup and with each other.  Which leads me back to the end of the quote that inspired me in the first place.  None of this happens without "...the time, space and materials in which to explore ideas, and to have the confidence to experiment, problem solve and work out their own solutions."  In addition and more importantly, I am beginning to see the process of exploration and all that it entails as meaning making through our actions, either in our head or in our physical operations.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How do children express their ideas?

Here is a question I want to explore: How do children express their ideas?  The question comes from the belief that in the field of early childhood education and care, most practitioners place a the greatest emphasis of children expressing their ideas verbally or through art activities like painting and drawing.  I hope I am wrong, but my question still becomes: Are there other ways to express their ideas?

To try to answer the question, I will focus on one simple object provisioned for a recent setup at the water table.  The object is a watering can with a long narrow spout.  What are some of the ideas children have when working with a watering can and how do they express them?  My conjecture is that children express their ideas through asking their own questions.

Let's start with an simple action.  In the picture below a child is using the watering can to fill a bottle.  Her idea, then, is to fill the bottle.  Even a simple idea like this harbors several questions if she wants to realize it. When is it full?  What happens if I keep pouring?  How do I coordinate my fine and large muscles to get the water into the bottle? 
She is asking her body to balance and stretch in such a way that it is not a given that she can fill the bottle.  For instance, can she lift her right elbow high enough to empty the watering can and fill the bottle?

With children, one question leads to another.  In trying to answer the question at hand, the children continually ask new questions.  Sometimes those questions are verbal but so often they are non-verbal and must be seen in their actions.  Here are a few more questions just from the children playing with the watering can.

These two children are each using the watering can to pour water into a hole in the side of the container for the rocking chair waterfall.  What happens to the water when it is poured into the hole?  What does it look like?  What does it feel like?

Here is a question that has nothing to do with pouring water with the watering can.  What happens when I put a funnel on the end of the spout and talk into the funnel? 

Several children asked the question: Does the long spout of the watering can fit though the hole in the bottom of the planter tray?  In answering that question, new questions need to be asked and answered.  Can I pour water into the spout from the exact same watering can with the narrow spout? 
Again, this is an intricate motor challenge in which the child is asking herself: Can I coordinate all my big and small muscle groups to pour water into a narrow opening from a narrow opening?

These two boys asked the question: How far up the hole can we push the spout?  In essence, they have plugged the hole making it possible to fill the planter tray with water.  This sets off a whole new chain of questions.  How high can we fill it?  What happens when it reaches the top of the spout?


The children actually fill the water in the planter tray to the level of the spout.  At this point, water starts to drain through the spout back into the watering can itself and then into the water table.  Leave it to the children, however, to keep asking questions.

In the video below, the two children see that the water is draining through the spout.  One of the boys starts to re-position the watering can so the tip of the spout is again under water.  Why does he do that?  One of the questions he seems to be asking is where does the water go?  He bends down to see the water coming out of the sides of the watering can underneath the tray.  A new question immediately forms about what is happening to the water in the tray.  He stands back up and looks right into the water in the tray again.  I ask: "What is happening."  Very quietly he answers: "It's falling down."  Both boys then look at the water and the spout as the level of the water in the tray reaches the level of the tip of the spout wondering what will happen next.  At this point, something quite amusing happens: as the end of the water drains into the spout there is a sucking sound.  Watch!

Watering can plug from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

One child laughs at the sound and the other child seems to be imitating the sound he hears from the spout.  The unexpected outcome continues to fuel there curiosity so they continue to create new questions and new ideas.

By featuring what children do with one simple object around the water table, the questions and thus, the ideas, are too numerous to name.  Now add in all the other objects, the setup and people the children are working with and there is an infinite trove of children expressing their ideas---and that is just at the sensory table, a throw-away corner in far too many classrooms.

Here is an inverse conjecture based on the first one earlier in the post.  Since children are continually asking questions, they are continually expressing their ideas in their actions to answer those questions.  This is a generative process that showcases their ideas in real time.  These ideas are fleeting and bifurcate in strange and wonderful ways that cannot be predicted.  If you value children expressing their ideas in many and varied ways, make room for their questions both verbal and non-verbal in every part of the classroom.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rocking chair waterfall

Last week I wrote about an apparatus I made from the arm pieces of a bentwood rocking chair.

The apparatus was suppose to be a water ramp, but it ended up to be rocking chair car ramp.

Because the wood of the rocking chair had so many nice curves to it, I was determined to make something from it for the water table.  I decided to try the curved piece at the bottom of the rocker with its nice, gentle curve.  The section of the rocker I cut is highlighted below.

I had a 12" x 36" piece of black HDPE 100 plastic left over from the car ramp apparatus.  Because the plastic sheet was bendable, I was able to screw it onto the two curved rocker pieces.

Parents in our program are always bringing in interesting things for me to build with.  Go figure.  A couple of years ago, a parent in our program brought in a really interesting piece: a deposit container for toner from a copy machine.  The picture below shows the schematic for where the deposit fits in the copier.

I decided that it was time to use it and that it just might be a good top piece for the new water apparatus.  I cut 2.5" holes with a hole saw attachment for the drill and then drilled multiple 1/4" holes in the bottom of the deposit.

Using duct tape, I then secured the deposit container to the the new water apparatus.

To install the new apparatus onto the table, I taped a white, wooden tray across the width of the table for a base.  To the tray, I taped a crate.  I could then affix the apparatus to the crate using duct tape.  I also taped the apparatus to the lip of the table near the bottom of the apparatus. 
In the picture above, one of the boys poured water into the top of the apparatus and the water came rushing out the bottom holes down the apparatus and into the black tub next to the table.

I had the hardest time figuring out what to call this new apparatus until I saw these two boys pour water simultaneously creating what looked like a waterfall.  Viola, a rocking chair waterfall.

Waterfall from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

Could you tell I was impressed?  I may build and set up the contraptions, but the children are the masters at giving them life.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rocking chair car ramp

For a couple of years, pieces of a bentwood rocking chair had been sitting in my basement waiting to be repaired.  Here is a picture of a bentwood rocker.
I finally decided nobody was going to fix it so I was going to throw it out.  However, when I looked at the pieces of wood, I wondered if I could make anything out of the curved pieces of wood.  I was especially intrigued by the two handle pieces.
My initial idea was to make a curved ramp for the water table so when the children poured water down the ramp it would follow the curves of the apparatus and fly off the end.  I detached the two curved handle pieces.  I then used a utility knife to cut a black piece of 100 HDPE plastic so it measured 12" X 36." Because the plastic sheet was bendable, I was able to screw it onto the two curved handle pieces.
I left handles on one end so I could attach it to a base onto the water table.

When I got to school and tried it out, I was totally disappointed.  When I poured water down the ramp, the falling water never gained enough force to overcome the curve up to fly off the end of the ramp.  The water just pooled and rolled off the sides of the apparatus at the bottom of the curve.  I was all set to chalk it up as a failure and bring it home to try to modify it.

When I showed it to my colleague, she was impressed with the appearance and the form of the apparatus.  She suggested I put it somewhere else in the room for the children to explore using balls or cars.  I decided to set it up on the green steps in my room with a bucket of cars.  Instead of a rocking chair water ramp, I ended up with a rocking chair car ramp.

Here is what it looked like in action.  Three boys were camped around the ramp.  One of them was even sitting in between the handles in a comfortable position for launching his cars.   The child in the blue shirt launched a car that jumped right into the bin at the end of the ramp.  "Wow," he exclaimed. "It went right in."  As the car traveled down the ramp and launched, his right leg kicked in unison with the movement of the car.  He tried two more times, one time it crashed into another car, but that cleared the way for the third launch that flew over the bin.  At the end of the video, the child in between the handles launched two cars simultaneously, both of which flew off to the side on the end.

Rocking chair car ramp from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

Since the rocking chair car ramp was not tied down, the children could move it around to their hearts' content.  Two of the boys featured in the video above, climbed the stairs to sit on the window ledge so they could launch cars from a little higher elevation.
The arrow in the picture above points to the car that just flew off the ramp.  The higher the elevation, the more dramatic was the the flight for the cars.

Three children even turned the rocking chair ramp on its head.  They did that so they could see what would happen if they propelled the cars up the curved ramp.

Up the rocking chair car ramp from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

Silly me, I have no imagination.  I thought cars could only go one way on the ramp: down.

One child even turned the whole ramp over and ran her cars on the underside of the ramp.

Instead of using the ramp for propelling cars, one child used it for transporting the cars in mass.

 They also found out it worked well as a baby teeter-totter

Heck, it even worked well as a lounge chair.  It was made from a chair, after all.

I was about to take this home when I saw that it did not worked as I had intended.  I counted it as another one of those failed ideas for sensory table.  Thanks to my colleague who could see it with fresh eyes, I left it in the room as a loose part for the children to explore.  My intentions seem measly compared to the many and varied uses the children came up for this construction.

I am left with the question: How do we keep our "intentional" practice open to allow the children enough agency to discover the possibilities of a setup that can only be realized through their play?  Sometimes we need fresh eyes.  Thank you Lani for your fresh eyes. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Worm slide and social connections

Every year since I bought a "bucket of worms" on sale at a sporting goods store, I have set up a worm slide.  Each year it looked a little different, but the idea was always the same: the children would put the plastic worms (fishing lures without hooks) in pipes and pour water on them so they would go sliding down the pipes.  This was the 2016 version.
The trays and crates formed the base of the apparatus.  A flexible, plastic tube was threaded through the pink crate and emptied back into the blue table.  A white plastic chute ran from the top of the green crate to the brown planter tray on which the pink crate was anchored.  Finally, a narrow, PVC pipe ran through the green crate to empty into a tub next to the table.  This pipe had a slit down the entire length of the pipe.  In the picture, the child in the foreground was putting an orange worm into the slit.  If you want a detailed description of how I put this together, check out the act of building post from last week.

I have written several times over the years about how the children explored the worm slide. The post children's turn at the worm slide talked specifically about the many different operations the children came up with at this apparatus.  This year when I was looking through the pictures and videos I was struck by the breadth of social interactions and the varied moments of connection at the worm slide.

The first example is 8 seconds long.  A child was collecting worms in a bottle.  He reached for another worm from the pile in the white wooden tray.  Before he could grab one, the child next to him offered him a worm.  He accepted and put it in his bottle.

Have a worm from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

I was struck by this simple gesture.  The child who offered the worm realized the other child was collecting worms.  He did not need to offer the worm he had in his hand, but he did.  Why?  The child who was collecting the worms in his bottle looked at the proffered worm and accepted it.  Why?  He could have simply turned down the offer.  The reciprocating gestures all unfolded without a word said.  These questions arose because these two children usually did not interact with each other.  It could be said that they tended to do their own thing.   What made this moment of connection possible?

Here is a second simple, but magnanimous gesture.  The child in the video had been collecting worms when she asked: "Do you want some of these, Teacher Tom?"  I asked for one and then asked which one could I have.  She tried to take one out, but her hand did not fit in far enough to get a worm.  When that didn't work, she said: "I'm thinking."  She tried one more time to reach in to retrieve a worm for me.  Her hand was still too small.  She took her hand out and said: "Maybe I should dump them out."  And she started to dump them out.

Would you like a worm? from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

Why did she offer me worms in the first place?  Was she simply trying to draw me into her play?  Did she think I was more likely to accept her offer?  Was it simply because I was the closest person to her?  I do not know.  I do know that she was being generous and engaged in some sophisticated problem solving to make good on her offer.  Again, what made this ingratiating connection possible?

Some social interactions are clearly planned and executed.  In the video below, two boys were working to complete an intentional operation.  One child placed a worm in the tube, filled his bottle with water and then poured the bottle of water into the tube to flush down the worm.  The child at the end of the tube was holding a pot to catch the worm as it shot out the tube.

Did you catch it? from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

What was so interesting in this social exchange was the different ways the two boys communicated with each other.  One child was quite verbal.  He said things like: "Did you catch it?" "Where did it go?"  The other child did not say a word.  That does not mean he did not communicate.  As the child approached saying "did you catch it," the child with the pot clearly looked at the child coming towards him.  He then looked at his pot as if to say look in here.  He even raised the pot slightly to show him that he caught it.  The child who poured looked in the pot and then gave the child a quick smile as if to say he understood.  The video ended with the child about to dump the water and the worm into the tub next to the table.  Was he communicating that he wanted to do it again?  Especially with differing communication styles, what made such a intentional connection possible?

Here is a final example of social interaction at the worm slide.  This play falls more on the side of dramatic or fantasy play.  The children in the video were sorting the the worms into "bad" ones and "good" ones.  The child in the striped shirt held up a worm and told the other child: "Oh, these aren't good.  You know why?"  He pointed to a feature on the worm and said: "Well, that can sting you."  Without saying a word, the girls seemed to agree judging from the face she made. 

This one's a bad one from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

A third child easily inserted himself into the play when he held up and worm and said: "This one is a bad one."  The boy in the striped shirt began to reach for the worm but quickly realized that the other child was collecting his own set of bad ones.  To keep the play on track, he quickly agreed: "Yeh.  OK."

What a wonderful little dance this was to keep the fantasy going.  Two children were sorting worms and there was still plenty of room for a third to easily slip into the play.  What made such a fluid connection possible? 

What made all these varied moments of connection possible?  In all four examples, the setup and the materials were all the same.  Even one of the operations across the four examples was similar, namely, collecting worms.  Why did those moments of connection looks so different?  Was it simply because there were different children in each example?  My guess is that it was even more complicated than that because the way these moments unfolded were also particular to all the factors coming together in the moment.  By implication, these moments will never be duplicated.

It is an intriguing puzzle to attempt to figure out what makes these moments of connection possible.  However, their real value lies in savoring the unfolding of the intricacies in each.  In other words, relish the gestalt of the moment because it is in the ever changing moments that the children are making sense of the world.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The act of building

I have never documented the entire building process for an apparatus.  Part of the reason may be that the building process for me is an organic process.  Rarely is it completely planned out.  I start with a global idea and a collection of loose parts and then I begin to put it together. 

Let's start with one global idea: a worm slide.  The idea was for the children to place plastic worms (fishing lures without hooks) into pipes so when they poured water down the pipes the worms would be flushed down into another tub.

Here was the first version I built over 12 years ago.  It was extremely simple.  Two plastic PVC pipes were set on an incline using an upside down planter tray as a base.

Pictured below are some of the loose parts I started out with for this year's version of the worm slide.  There was a white wooden tray, a narrow PVC pipe, a couple of crates and clear plastic tubing.
I decided to use both my water tables.  I taped them together using black duct tape.  I did not need to tape them together, but the taping job also served as an apron that closed a gap between the two tables which cut down on the water spillage.

I started building the worm slide by placing a planter tray across the width of the small table.  The tray was wider than the table, so it was important to make sure there was a drainage hole.
I have learned over the years that the children see the planter tray as another container to fill.  Without the drainage hole, the water could spill over the sides of the planter tray all over the floor.

I taped the planter tray to the small table and then taped the pink crate on top of the planter tray. 

I then set the white wooden tray across the width of the blue table.  To tape it to the table, I crossed taped at each point where the tray rested on the lip of the table.  One piece of tape went from the tray to inside the table and the other piece of tape went from the tray to the outside of the table and under the lip.
In addition, I took a longer piece of tape to wrap around the two points of cross taping on the same side at the lip of the table.  This is called thrashing and tightens up the tape holding the tray down to make it more secure. 

On top of the wooden tray, I anchored a green crate using duct tape.  I used the same method of cross taping and thrashing.
This setup comprised the base of the apparatus.  I now had multiple levels and holes to which I could start attaching different elements.

The first element I added was a plastic chute that went from the brown planter tray to the wooden tray.  The idea was to have the children put worms on the chute, pour water onto the chute and watch the worms drop out into the table through a hole in the green crate.

The second element I added was a long, narrow PVC pipe with a slit cut down the length of the pipe.  The pipe was embedded through the green crate and emptied into the smaller table.  I taped the pipe on the front and the back end of the crate  That was stable enough so I did not need to tape it to the lip of the table at the bottom of the pipe.
The idea here was to have the children use their fine motor skills to put the floppy worms into the pipe and then use more muscle coordination to pour water down the narrow pipe to send the worm shooting down and out into the small water table.

The third element I added was a long, flexible plastic tube.  I ran it through the pink crate and taped it onto the green crate on the outside.  The end of the tube emptied into the blue table.
Why did I tape it to the outside of the crate instead of through it?  I don't honestly know.  It was one of those organic decisions that was made at the moment.

The fourth and final element was a long, clear plastic tube.   The tube was woven through the green crate...
and it emptied into the black tub on the end the table.

There you have the 2016 version of the worm slide.  All that was left to do was to turn it over to the children for testing.  Actually, that was not all that was left to do because when the children tested the apparatus, some things did not work as planned.  

After one session with the children, the first thing I changed was the plastic chute.   As it turned out,  the incline was too slight to have much effect.  In other words, the worms would just pile up on the chute.  I reversed the incline of the chute and made it steeper so it emptied into the brown planter tray. The second thing I did was to remove the clear plastic tubing because the worms kept getting stuck in it.  When I removed the tubing, nothing emptied into the black tub so I reversed the inclination of the thin PVC pipe so it emptied into the black tub.  The only element I did not change was the flexible tubing running through the pink crate.  By the second session, this is what the worm slide looked like.
Did you understand all that?  If you did, your spacial literacy is off the charts.  

The purpose of showing you the building process from start to finish---and revamping---was not to have you copy what I did.  You can certainly do that if you want.  No, the purpose was to give you an idea of the building process.  The act of building is a creative process that begins with you.  Use what you find in this blog, combine it with the loose parts you have on hand and use your imagination to put it all together.