For this provocation we took our light exploration outdoors. We invited children to come explore light reflection using the natural sunlight and small round mirrors. We set up a small tent with mirrors inside as an invitation for them to come out and explore. As the children entered, the teacher was able to catch the sunlight onto the mirrors and reflect it into the tent and even as far back as into the classroom.
In our observations we saw that the children were very curious of this moving light that seemed to always get away from them. Many times we found the children following its every move and even trying to catch it, but to no avail.
With this project we wanted to entice the children to explore this field of light and understand that this particular light was not a hard and graspable object. When children learn how light and reflection work they are beginning to explore and understand that though light can be everywhere, it can be blocked by getting in the way of its reflection. This process is called understanding the properties of field.
In this provocation the infants were invited to play with the moving light in a constructive and educational way. Constructivism learning theory, (the original idea proposed by Piaget) must be compatible to the child’s developmental level to the types of knowledge being taught (Building Understanding Together, 25). Infants begin to discover their sense of self at this age and by using mirrors the children could see the light dance around while introducing the children to a deeper self-awareness. Developing a foundation of self-awareness in this context allowed the children to learn that they themselves can block the light.
This outdoor light exploration yields various intellectual benefits for the toddlers. It promotes independence and freewill, the children had the freedom to move around and play with the moving light and mirrors while exploring their individual curiosities with the movement of light and reflections. This also leads to the development of more complex and higher levels of understanding and reasoning. With as much interest and curiosity that the children have shown in our light study, we look forward to providing them with many more learning projects based on this exploration!
“If we wanted to understand the properties of light, would we study darkness?”
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