The tubes extend beyond both ends of the blue sensory table. To catch the pellets coming out of the tubes, I set up a smaller, clear sensory table on one end and a big blue tub on the other. That way, I was able to add more levels to the apparatus. All but one end of one tube is notched to give the children easy pouring access into the tubes.
Below is a picture of the shelves with the provisions for this apparatus. Note that there are extra tubes and homemade plungers of various sizes and lengths.
This apparatus creates a lot of spaces for children to explore. There are spaces the children can look into and there are spaces they can reach into.
There are spaces between and under and there are spaces that are between and over.
The first operation is one that you might expect: a child pushes the pellets through the tube with a plunger.
Pushing the pellets through the tube from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
Did you notice the reaction of the child on the other end? At first, it looks like he moves to catch the pellets but, in the end, he helps the first child unstick the plunger head that was caught on the end of the tube.
After working with the plunger in and out of the cardboard tube, this child noticed that he could see his actions in the mirror. He showed the greatest interest in motion of the plunger on the other end of the tube.
Children not only author a given operation, but often times they fabricate the reverse operation. Instead of pushing the pellets through the tubes, a child will scrape them out.
Pulling the pellets out with the plunger from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
I was impressed with how purposeful and fluid she was in her actions.
I will leave you with one final video. To understand the video you need to know that I am part of the action. Besides filming, I am on the opposite end of the tube from the child. I also have a plunger and I am pushing it through the same tube as this child. Watch his reactions to this little game we have created.
plunger game from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
I have said many times that after I build an apparatus, I give it over to the children to make it their own. I guess that is not entirely true because, as you can see, I sometimes play, too. Why should the children have all the fun?