On Friday, we used all of our block resources to create fanciful castles. Two groups of students worked as teams to design the structures. Before beginning, we talked about the concept of a moat and what it might have been used for long ago. This led to a discussion about drawbridges, gates, and how one might get into a castle.
The group building in the block area began their building with the outer wall. They used many arch blocks to form the face of the castle. They had a difficult time deciding whether the moat should go on the mirror facing side or the opposing side of the wall. Together they realized that if they put it on the mirror side, they would have more room to build their outer walls.
One of the children was worried that the people who live in the castle would not have any flowers or grass to play in. She arranged a green silk as a garden to solve this problem. The blocks that are holding it down are sidewalks around the edge.
The other group of students were building on the main carpet. Their design differed greatly from the one above. For this structure, all four partners helped carry many blocks over, but then each built their own sections. The different “rooms” went together after they were built. It was interesting to watch this more obvious associative play. While they shared materials, it was not until it was finished that they began to share the same story. This castle sports two drawbridges, one area referred to by the designer as a bedroom, but by another child as a prison, and two main living areas. Most interesting to me was to see how they easily connected all of their independent buildings together without any fuss over space or duplicate structures.