Exploring a new material – wire.

Especially in their first year at Opal, we carry the intention of introducing children to many different materials. We play, we experiment, we wonder, we share our discoveries. We hope that as the months and years go by that they will know these materials as thinking partners. They will know the affordances of each different material (what that material can do – it's possibilities and limitations), and they will be able to make informed choices about what material to use depending on what ideas they are working on.
This week we worked with wire for the first time this year. We will be working with wire in a week or two on a project which will support us to share something about ourselves, but before we ask children to be intentional in their use of a material, we need to give them time to play and explore. 
Our goal this day was to find out… What can wire do? We thought together about the things we thought wire would be able to do and then we reflected briefly on a material we all know well – tempera paint – and we compared that with wire. Wire can bend and make a circle, can paint? Wire can twist, can paint? Wire can undo (If I bend it, I can unbend it), can paint? The children enjoyed playing with these comparisons, being surprised by certain ideas and laughing at others.
Then we went to play.
What can wire do…
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S.M.: Loop de loop, twist
A.DG: It can really twist.
G.S.: It made a lower case R
J.K.: When you do it like this (undoes it) it is a loop de loop and a loop de loop.
When you twist it goes up.
S.D.: I made a microphone.
O.R.: I made a stop sign.
T.Y.: It can make bracelets. I squiggle it up and I can make it so tiny it can fit into both my hands.
G.S.: It's a whip. It spins around and nothing flies off!
R.P.: I didn't know it was going to turn into a key. This is actually pretty cool – it's turing into a real key. It locks up your bike and opens up secret doors. 
Teacher: What secret doors?
R.P.: One's maybe no one has seen. With secret treasure.
S.M.: Or maybe with 563 butterflies.
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O.C.: Look, it’s an “O” for Ollie!

O.R.: [Wire can] make animals.

T.Y.: Wire can go until you use it up.

A.S.: You can twist it.

T.Y.: It can twist in to a bracelet.

G.R.: Look, it can make an 8!

S.D.: We’re making glasses.

G.R.: It can make two hooks.

M.W.: It can make a twisty.

G.R.: It can make a “1” and also an “A” and a “P”.

M.D.: It can make a “J”!

G.R.: Wow, wire is really important to people.

Teacher: Why is it important?

G.R.: Because it can do so many things!!

 

M.D.: Mustache!

G.R.: Airplane! Helicopter!

M.W.: A bell!

M.D.Wire can be silly.

G.R.: Wire can make anything!

M.W.: Yeah, because it’s so bendy, twisty!

 

 

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