Dealing with Undoing

Delivery Method: 

Chris has learned how to make three-dimensional structures with magnetic tile on a vertical wall. Jaycee makes all of her patterns flat, as you see in the fan structure on the right panel. She wants to participate in Chris’s work and offers him pieces that help build his pointed vertical chute. When he attempts to roll a wiffle ball down the vertical chute it dislodges a few of the bottom pieces. Jaycee must think that the new game is “tear the building down.” But clearly Chris is perturbed when Jaycee rakes the remaining pieces off the wall. He retreats to a distant chair and says to Jaycee, “You fix it.” The teacher mentions that Jaycee may need Chris’s help. Chris decides to move on to another activity elsewhere in the room. Jaycee sets about building a new structure, but all of the tiles are laid flat. Actually, this strategy was how Chris began but then he was using the flat pattern as the foundation for folding the outside rows perpendicular to the wall. Jaycee does not make this modification and her matrix of tile remains flat. She walks away when done.

These types of situations happen everyday, where children have a period of success in working together and some periods where things do not work out. Nevertheless, these episodes are as important for social development as those episodes that run smoothly. What do you think Jaycee and Chris learned from this encounter? Can you find positive lessons for both Jaycee and Chris? Notice that the teacher hung back and often resisted intervening. How do you think the teacher’s decision may or may not have strengthened the children’s ability to solve problems and resolve social conflict?

This video clip allows you to study the give and take that occurs between children as they work to balance their personal goals and their desire to share collaboratively with others. If you download the video clip from our estore you will also receive a text file identifying a series of transcribed segments that help us further explore the children’s unfolding interaction and better understand their social competence.

Length of stand-alone master video clip: 5 minutes 48 seconds

Keywords: Fours, Child-Child, Blocks, Collaboration, Frustration