Building Stairs with Blocks

Delivery Method: 

Jack and his teacher have been working on the problem of building stairs using unit blocks. Jack repeatedly tries to build a set of stairs more than three blocks high, but each time he adds the fourth block, the structure tips over. Notice how the teacher invites Jack to think about what is making the staircase fall and what could be done to prevent it. Carefully observe how the teacher encourages Jack to wonder about the relationship between form and function: “How does it work?” Notice how she animates the doll in order to help Jack better reflect upon the function of the stairs, the required features, and the effectiveness of the strategies he invents to solve the problem. Learn how the teacher uses a video camera to motivate Jack to revisit his thinking and see how Jack puts into words the sequence of his discoveries.

Keywords: Fours, Teaching, Child-Teacher, Spatial Relations, Function, Invention

Length of stand alone video clip: 5 minutes 30 seconds