figuring out ferris wheels

This is just a small part of the long story of  Ferris Wheels in the pre-school. It started with A.L.'s attempt to make one back in early October. Even with J's help,they couldn't make it turn. Even though they couldn't solve the problem, the two children knew it wouldn't be a very fun ride if the Ferris Wheel just sat still. 

Later they took their Ferris Wheel to circle and got a lot off helpful advice from the larger Meadow room group. 
The day these pictures were made was the day, several weeks later on November 15th, when the children were able to make Ferris wheels that could really spin! What made the difference? The children had come to understand the role that axles play in the process of spinning wheels. 

This plan and Ferris Wheel don't look the same as everyone else's, but A's comment that she would get a
more exciting ride from the "wavy" seat shows how much understanding she has about the way spin and
spoke length would affect the way the ride would feel to the rider. She suggested I ride in the seat closest to the
axle, since I didn't want to get too dizzy.


It spun on this hook, but then there wasn't any room for the seats. The plan shows
J's revised ideas with a center axle, spokes, and a base.


This plan shows J's point that the Ferris Wheel had to have a ladder and a way to stop, so people could get on and off.
In the background you can see one of the spinning things we stocked the classrooms with in order to give the children as much experience with wheels as possible.


I can hear myself say "Let's see, is it going to spin? Um, yes, it is"
Not my most inspired Teacher moment!


  1. Hi there! I'm a homeschooling mama with three artsy little people who are nonstop creators. We have an overrun, disorganized art studio in our home. I'm trying to facilitate the Reggio approach combined with unschooling in our home, but the organization just eludes me. I'll be reading your archives for inspiration! Thank you so much!

  2. I love this series of images, graphic representations and then video...I didn't want this post to end! You captured the magic, the wonder, the theory building and the spirit of invention and play in things kinetic. I'm so glad you're my blog friend, you are so very inspiring.


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