After hauling this styrofoam tray around in my truck cab, I shared it with my students. I asked what they thought it was made of. Was it metal? No. Was it plastic? No. Was it heavy? No. I rolled the ball down two sides of the tray to plant the idea. "What do you think?" I ask each. "Can it work? Test it for me, please." And they do.
Two students have to sit down to do it. Most can tilt the tray with their two hands so that the ball rolls around once. Two passes around seems to be a threshold. So, the next time we meet, I have each tilt the tray so that the ball passes around two times and then as many times as they choose after that. All of them have gotten better at it.
It is tricky because there are two big holes in the tray and it is easy for the ball to fall to the floor. This tray promotes eye and hand coordination.
Now that they have acquired the focus needed and the ball is controlled. What else can they make it do? The students are becoming inventors. They try out a hunch. Test it out, trial and error. Sometimes it doesn't work as easy as they thought. Two students came up with ideas I hadn't thought of. I was pleased. Do they have a name in mind for the puzzle they discovered? I listen to their ideas.
Two minute video
This next week I will have each try the boards. It is a balance puzzle. And yes, I have been trying it myself. The thing is, if I can plant an idea, of course keeping it safe and do able. What might they come up with--as they master it?
Two minute video
The students I am assigned to need the brain gym exercises to get the right and left sides of their brains working together. I tell them that the exercises are designed to make the body want to fall over. The brain tries to over ride the fall.
Paul E. Dennison coined the term "brain gym."
You can see what my students have come up with on my Motion Puzzle blog.
"Welcome to Motion Puzzles where students have created, tested, and named their own exercises. Balance is challenged. The left and right side of the brain sends emails back and forth, "NO NO, DO NOT TIP OVER!!"
(courtesy of Teacher Tube, http://teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=27736, http://teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=27736; and About.com, http://teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=27736, accessed Oct 21, 2012)