Simmetrico Suggestions for Use
To understand children’s learning with open-ended materials, it is often useful to step back and observe their spontaneous play and problem solving. Children use blocks in a variety of ways:
- To create designs – arrangements with no particular function.
- To build functional structures – things that move, shelters, and enclosures.
- To build representations of real objects – sailboats, animals, and people.
- To rearrange patterns – recombining a given set of blocks into different arrangements.
- To act out narratives – using the blocks to tell a story.
- To encounter and solve problems
Children will almost always start building on their own and may often build for long periods of time with great concentration. We have included some suggestions for use to further stimulate their ideas. However, we encourage parents and teachers to let children take the lead.
- Language Development
- What are the different materials in the Simmetrico? Can you describe them? Are they hard? Soft? Shiny? Rigid?
- What do the half domes look like?
- Are there other blocks that you can see through?
- Mathematical Thinking
- How many designs can you make that are the same on both sides?
- What different shapes can you make with the half dome? Can you make a sphere?
- Using all the color pieces, can you make a building that is only green? Blue? Yellow? How many buildings do you have altogether? Try putting the buildings on the Mylar. How many buildings do you see now?
- Physical Knowledge
- How high a tower can you make using all the pieces? What are some of the problems you find when you are stacking the domes?
- What happens when you look through the round side of the clear half dome?
- Do you see the same thing when you look through the flat side? What do you see?
- Aesthetic Ideas
- Let’s look at some books about art and architecture. Can you find some artists who use reflections in their sculpture or paintings? Are there artists and architects who use symmetry in their work?
- Where can you find examples of symmetry in nature?
- If you could take a picture of the artwork that you made with the Simmetrico, which one would you choose? Why do you like this one the best?
- Imaginative Play
- I like my building when you look at it from the side. You can see all the parts again in the mirror.
- I live next to a big lake and I can see my face in the lake. I can also see my red dog with two big eyes.
- I made a skyscraper that goes so high, but you can also see that it goes down, down, down into the ground.