Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Angry Birds Tinkering

IMG_4194.JPGCatapult.JPGIn the late fall five year old Izaiah spent weeks re-creating and extending scenes from the game Angry Birds by building small block structures and knocking them down by tossing another small block at them.  Eventually he decided to construct a catapult to launch items into his structures.  On the day the photo here was captured he was particularly engaged in this task.  He had already spent some time playing around with the catapult idea and for about an hour on this day he used various materials and the support of a thinking partner and mentor (Lacy) to try to get the catapult to work in the way he wanted.  First he tried a zig- zag arrangement of yarn; then he hot glued the popsicle sticks as a platform.    He  backtracked and tried just one piece of yarn and added support blocks to keep the catapult stable.  As he worked he and Lacy talked about the materials he was using.  They talked about how the yarn seemed tight, but then would loosen and become slack.  Izaiah decided he needed something stretchy.  Lacy offered the idea of elastic and fished a piece out of the sewing basket for him.  This worked a bit better and the block did get some launch movement.  Another child came by and offered that Izaiah needed something like a rail to keep the block on the platform during launch.  So Izaiah and Lacy tried to attached pipe cleaners to get this effect.  With each small adjustment Izaiah tried launching a block.  Usually with little forward movement, but with a lot of joy in building a structure to knock down, making noises to launch the block and storytelling about what was happening with the pieces. Lacy and Izaiah got some okay launches in by the end, not perfect launches, before Izaiah decided to turn his attention elsewhere.  Later when Izaiah and Lacy looked back at the photos of the catapult he offered this poetic reflection:

An angry birds launcher
Angry Birds space
Put a block to destroy the castle
I wanted to play
Angry Birds Castle
If you pull it,
you need something
to hold on to it.

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