Symmetrical Structures

Delivery Method: 

This videative is one of a series of three about a five-year-old’s experiences with Learning Material Workshop Blocks; the other two videatives are titled "Counting Blocks in a Mirror" and "A Hole Problem Solved." We can gain great insight into the ways in which children think through watching their play with blocks. In this videative, five-year-old Ria decides to use symmetry to determine the shape of her block structure. Interestingly, she is able to build her symmetrical structure starting either on the right side or starting on the left side. This flexibility suggests that she has a general understanding of symmetry. That is, Ria does not apply a rote sequence to create the symmetry.

Notice what she says when her teacher asks about the importance of having both sides the same (symmetrical). She says, "It has to be." One should pause when a child uses the phrase, "It has to be." In such cases the child implies that he/she holds a theory about the way the world is. It then behooves us to slow down and encourage the child to tell us more. And this is exactly what the teacher does, with the resultant explanation from Ria, "It won't work then." Ah, now we have a whole world of ideas about which to learn.

Keywords: Fives, Blocks, Child-Teacher, Spatial Relations, Symmetry, Equivalence, videative

Length of videative: 3 text pages, 4 video subclips
Length of stand-alone master video clip: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Click hereto see Learning Material Workshop Blocks.