Tree Trunks: Balance and Power

Delivery Method: 

Four children and a teacher are working to build a tower using large sections of tree trunk. As the children arrange the wood to create a platform for their structure they encounter a problem. The base of the platform is not stable. Rather than wait for the children to discover that the platform wobbles, the teacher takes the lead by clearly framing the problem. She then helps to remove the upper slabs of wood and invites the children to inspect the base. As you watch, consider whether the teacher’s decision to take the lead effectively supported the children’s thinking and better enabled them to work toward their goal. Notice what other strategies the teacher uses to help the children 1) to reflect upon what may be the source of the problem, and 2) work as a team to explore the ideas offered by individual members of the group. Observe how the teacher’s choices, about both what to do and what not to do, encourage the children to interact with the large materials. Consider how the opportunity to maneuver these large sections of tree trunk may increase the children’s sense of shared power and collaboration as they participate in the group.

Length of stand-alone master video clip: 5 minutes 5 secs

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Keywords: Fives, Children-Teacher, Spatial-Relations, Negotiation, Teaching, Blocks