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Observations are Essential in Supporting Children's Play

by Gretchen Reynolds
November/December 1996
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/observations-are-essential-in-supporting-childrens-play/5011260/

It is midmorning during free play time. The blocks scattered around on the floor of the block building area are evidence that children played here earlier. Four quadruple unit blocks (Hirsch, 1984) or "quads" have been placed together in the shape of a large square. Checking out the block building area, four year olds Jennifer and Rosie notice it immediately. The girls help themselves to unit and half unit blocks and begin filling in the big, empty square.

Jennifer: Wanna make something in here?

Rosie: Yeah!

Jennifer: We're making roads. We're making roads for putting in everywhere.

As she passes by, a teacher calls: What are you girls building?

Rosie: A car road.

Jennifer: It's not for racing. It's not a racing road. It's a regular road.

Jennifer and Rosie systematically place unit blocks around the inside edge of the square to form a border all the way around. (Four unit blocks equal a quad.) Then, using units and half unit blocks, they fill in from all four sides toward the center. (Two half unit blocks equal one unit block, or eight half units equal a quad.) Because all the blocks they use are mathematical equivalents, the girls are creating a patterned mosaic floor inside the square. During ...

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