What could it be?

This unusually warm afternoon, when we arrived on the playground, we found a large amount of white, grainy material just off of the black-top.  At first, the children didn’t really take notice of it.  Then, eureka!, they declared that they had found snow!  I asked them what it felt like, hoping that they might mention the distinct lack of coldness.  They focused on its whiteness.

They jubilantly jumped around shouting that winter must be coming soon since there was snow on the ground.  One of the children hung back and said that they thought that it must not be snow, it must be sugar.  Responding to my inquiry, he said that it “just looked and smelled like sugar”.  Luckily, he wasn’t curious enough to taste it.

I asked them all where it might have come from.  They looked at me as though I’d grown a third eye and said, “From the clouds, Mrs. Forst!”  I should have known that, now shouldn’t I?  Even the sugar idea originated in the clouds.  We’ve been reading variations of Jack and the Beanstalk and the children remembered that the giant lived in the clouds.  So if he could live there, why couldn’t he drop some sugar out onto the ground, as well?

So then I suggested we try some experiments to find out if it really was snow.  They were very excited by the idea and quickly came up with a test to find out the truth.  The idea: put a pile of it on the bottom of the slide.  Slide down the slide.  If it makes you go faster, then it must be snow.  Two worked as a team to build up a nice sized pile while a third waited at the top of the slide.  Each took a turn being a scooper and a slider.  They even asked the slider each time if enough “snow” had been gathered, yet.  The cooperation involved here is exactly what every Pre-K teacher hopes to see everyday.  During this experiment, I inquired about the outcome.  They informed me that it certainly did make them go faster.

Everyday, at the end of the class, we each share something we did today.  When one of them shared that they did a snow experiment, I asked what they decided.  I was told, “It is snow because nothing else in the world is white except sugar, and it’s not sugar, so it must be snow.”  How do we argue with that logic?

Hopefully there will still be some left tomorrow so that we can explore the possibilities further.  For now, just let me share one child’s independent project using the “snow”.  She ran over to me and squealed, “Mrs. Forst, come see my pattern!”  Now, do you see why I love my job?

One thought on “What could it be?

  1. We had a few more experiments today. A fresh group of bright, bushy-tailed friends encouraged some new ideas. The first decision was that if it is snow, it will melt in the sun. Two shovel-fulls were dumped in a nice, sunny spot. It did not melt.

    The next idea checked to see if the white substance was cold since one child declared that it must be if it was snow. This experiment did not go very well. Half of the scientists felt that it was cold, the other half disagreed. We are still working on deciding if snow must meet all of the qualifications or if it can follow just a few of the rules we know about snow.

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