Stacking to Taper a Tower

Delivery Method: 

Watch how this young boy continues to shuffle the position of the blocks in his tower until the final structure has the wide blocks at the bottom and the more narrow blocks higher in the stack. Cole has stacked four blocks of identical shape and size together.  He now decides to add a rectangular, red block to his stack.  Notice that he positions the block horizontally by placing it on its side. Cole may understand that this placement lends stability to the growing stack.  His classmate, Livy, comes over and observes.  He adds a thin, rectangular block to the top of his stack.  Notice that Cole does not lay the block face down but rather, stands it on one edge.  He may now be thinking about adding height to his stack.  Observe how he carefully works to align the thin, rectangular block so that it is flush with the red block below.  This placement may have aesthetic appeal and it may serve to strengthen Cole’s perceived sense of an emerging vertical form.  He observes his peers briefly and then picks up another rectangular block.  Perhaps sensing the girth of the larger block in his hand, Cole removes the thin rectangular block from the top of his stack and adds the thick, rectangular block instead.  Notice that he stands the block on one end.  Again, Cole may decide to do so in order to lend height to his stack.  Alternately, it might have been easier for Cole to place the block without rotating it because he was grasping a block in each hand at the time.  Once more, Cole adds the thin, rectangular block to the top of his stack.  This time he establishes a new orientation by rotating the block so that it is perpendicular to the stack of blocks below.  Cole seems to be experimenting with what ways he can best use the thin, rectangular block.  Next, Cole moves to add an eighth block, a red cylinder, to his stack.  Before doing so, notice that he tries to re-position the previously placed block.  What reasoning do you think may guide his effort?  The block falls but Cole is undeterred and he continues to add the cylinder. Persistently, Cole works to include the thin, rectangular block for a third time.  What do you notice about how his strategy changes? Cole wants to incorporate the block into his stack but it continues to give him some trouble. What reasoning do you think may guide his thinking?  Notice when Cole smiles and steps back to observe his blocks.  What about his block structure do you think inspires his smile?  Continue to speculate about what Cole’s goals may be as he revises his block structure.  Notice Cole’s reaction when his peer shifts out of her role as an observer.  What do you think Livy may hope to achieve by touching the blocks that Cole is working with?  As you reflect upon the numerous decisions Cole makes, marvel at the thinking and reasoning that takes place during this two minute episode of block play. 

Keywords: Ones, Blocks, Planning, Design
Length of video: 2 minutes, 22 seconds