Carosello 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
    • Where have you seen a real carousel or merry-go-round? Did you ever ride on it? How did it make you feel? Did you get dizzy?
    • What are the different parts of the Carosello?
    • Can you tell me what you built with the bobbins and dowels? What ideas do you have for using the reflective Mylar? What do you see on the reflective Mylar when you spin the Carosello?
  • Mathematical Thinking
    • What shapes can you find on the different parts of the Carosello?
    • What shapes do you see reflected in the Mylar? Can you change the way the shape looks on the Mylar?
    • What new shapes can you make with the tubing? Do the shapes change when you spin the Carosello?
  • Physical Knowledge
    • How many different ways can you make the Carosello move around? Can you make it move without touching the base?
    • What makes the Carosello move so smoothly?
    • What is the fastest you can spin the Carosello? The slowest?
    • Do the bobbins look different when they are spinning very fast?
  • Aesthetic Ideas
    • I see you made a moving sculpture. Let’s look in some books or go to a museum to see if we can find some other artists who have made moving sculptures.
    • How does your sculpture change when you add the Mylar strip? What do you like about the reflections?
    • What else would you like to add to your sculpture that is not in this set?

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