Learning to Clay Together

Delivery Method: 

Nina and Max break clay into pieces as they sit side by side. Nina places her pieces into a tray with six recesses, having filled one tray already. Max wants the clay piece she has placed in the tray and lifts the tray away from Nina. She make a motion to retrieve the tray but Max shields it from her reach. Later she finds an opportunity to place clay pieces into the empty recesses even though Max still claims the tray. Max squeals “no” and Nina stops placing the pieces in the recess herself. Instead she hands pieces to Max who lays them on the tray, but without targeting one piece per recess. Nina looks at the teacher as if she is pleased (01:04). Their attempts to play together continue with altercation shifting to a friendly game of “Do as I do” with Nina providing the fun.

Key points and questions:Notice how Nina places one piece of clay per recess in the tray. This is an early form of math called one-to-one correspondence, somewhat provoked by the child’s natural tendency to fill empty spaces. Notice how Nina, when thwarted from placing the clay herself because Max has taken her tray, gives the clay directly to Max. Does she assume that he might continue her one-to-one correspondence? How do you interpret Nina’s smile at the teacher (01:04)?

Do you think that Nina and Max are working toward opposite goals - Nina to fill the tray recesses, Max to empty them? Regarding the altercation that begins around 01:30, would you have intervened sooner? Why do you think Max says, “Stop” instead of Nina (02:35)? Do you think that Max wants to engage Nina in games of imitation, and if so, is his interest in affiliation at odds with her interest in the clay? How do you account for the forbearance that Nina shows during the altercations? Do you think Nina is making variations in how she tosses the clay (end of clip) because the teacher is watching with interest, and Nina wants this action to be interesting?

Runtime 3 minutes 31 seconds. - - - - Download folder includes longer text analysis.