An Experiment in Thinking
Creating a Culture of Thinking
in the Early Elementary Classroom
Sample Plan for the Day:
Morning Start Up Game
Snack and Break
Literacy Games and Teacher Directed Literacy Instruction
The Discoverers knew an unprotected egg falling on a hard surface would break, but
what about on the sand? We tried it twice, it didn't.
They knew from accidental cracks and drops or dribbling from dissecting eggs earlier this year that it out to break, but the sand absorbed the pressure of the fall.
How do we protect things (fragile things, eggs) from breaking when dropped or when they fall onto hard surfaces -- in this case from the top of the tallest part of our structure onto
During some rainy days the class decided to build their own structures or encasements
to cushion the egg and drop it inside the class, off the loft bridge and observe what
happens and why.
But once the rain stopped they were ready to take the experiment to the tallest place on
sight, the tallest portion of the play structure -- more than eight feet tall.
I explained how a scientific experiment of this degree would need to have the same
criteria, be the same height and variations or choices needed to be similar, if they were
going to compare and analyze the results, which is an important element in scientific
The Discoverers created a list of supplies agreed upon by all, and each person drew their
own designs. They wrote their theories about why it would work or dictated some of their
thinking for the teachers to make notes.
We learned the best time for sharing calm scientific thinking and for the interviewers to
ask deeper questions was later in the day, or even the next day after the
excitement level wasn't as high and they'd had time to think about their own experiments in comparison to other children's experiments. Using photographs and videos
aided greatly, allowing the Discoverers to point out discrepancies and connections
in their thinking with more ease.
Using the same variables, equal height level, equipment standards and an unchanging
landing surface didn't however create same results as some of you may have noticed
Monday night. We will continue to share photos and videos of discussions about what
has actually been happening.
The Discoverers are aware the goal is a metacognitive look at their own thinking, not just the outcome “will it break or not,” but of course they are especially excited when the egg stays intact.
Students are growing in their ability to design and evaluate their devices prior to and
after the drop. They are increasing their communication skills regarding the process, and their
designs are become more complex as we move into the fourth experiment.
Resiliency Is growing as the eggs break and also the students are becoming comfortable
with modifications, even when their egg didn't break. Yay!
Monday night all the students were interviewed by other students or a teacher about their
thinking as they made each encasement. The evening was filled with excitement and suspense.
It was lovely to hear them share their thinking, like a school day, with a few extra people.
They shared today how exciting Monday night's drop was, and how nervous they were
even though they persevered, Thank You!