Shape and Structure – Dale Tunnicliffe

Still working with Dale Tunnicliffe’s Talking and Doing Science in the Early Years: A practical guide for ages 2-7. … According to her:

“All things have a shape, sometimes as a result of the material from which they are made. Shapes are everywhere: the bricks or other materials that construct buildings, shapes of the structures in bridges, packing materials, furniture, transport. some shapes such as triangles and circular items are much stronger than other shapes. Children can investigate shapes with everyday items and materials, constructing new shapes and using already made ones. They can use different materials; some materials can change shape and some have different strengths when arranged in different ways, for example a tube made out of a piece of flat paper. Early years children need first-hand experience of playing at science and engineering using a variety of shapes constructed from a range of materials.” (p.105)

Under the heading of structures, Dale Tunnicliffe highlights the following ‘Big idea’: “All things have shape. Some things have their own shape; others, like liquids, take the shape of the container in which they are constrained.” (p.105)

She also points to the following ‘Key words’: “shape, structure, materials, load, dimensional, stable, base, force, pliant, triangles, squares, circles, spheres, ellipses, hexagons, rectangles, polygons, pentagons, hollow, solid, three-dimensional, two-dimensional.” (p.105)

There are shapes everywhere, all used in our everyday lives. Some shapes, such as triangles and circular items, are much stronger than other shapes.” (p.106) In this section, Dale Tunnicliffe focuses on shape in a rather physical manner – suitable to her discussion of science! – but I couldn’t help thinking of the ways that our knowledge of shape ‘shapes’ our thinking – thinking of time in a linear or spiral sense, for example, or how we talk about ‘thinking outside the box’… just a sideline

I like that she asks: “Why do different objects have different shapes? Consider toy cars and lorries. Look at model aeroplanes. What features do these models of transport vehicles share? What is different, and why? Do objects used for the same purposes always share the same features? Look at things that you can sit on. How many different things are there that can do the same kind of job? How are they the same? How are they different?” (p.113)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold, mine) Sue Dale Tunnicliffe (2013) Talking and Doing Science in the Early Years: A practical guide for ages 2-7. Routledge: Oxon and New York.


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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