baking soda

One Provocation, Two Ideas


When the children arrived at preschool this morning I had a provocation waiting for them. I had placed two pie plates lined with baking soda. Beside each plate I had placed a jar of coloured water with an eye dropper and a bottle of coloured vinager with an eye dropper. It was my idea that the children would explore the different reactions each liquid produced when combined with the baking soda. Julian and Beth gravitated instantly to this project, as did Asha and Eunice. Each bottle had different colours. This invited the children to negotiate which colour they wanted. Some coaching was needed in the beginning but then we were hearing a lot of “please can I have the red”  “Oh Asha can I have the blue please” ‘yes can I have the green” 

The collaborative investigating went on for some time.

 Then Taya joined the group to watch what they were doing.  I watched as she noticed the bubbling of the vinegar when added to the baking soda and I saw her eyes light up. She then went and grabbed a jar and started to undo the lid. When she undid the lid she removed the eyedropper and dumped the whole bottle into the pie plate. There was no reaction from the liquid, it just made a big wet puddle in the centre of the plate. So she dumped the next bottle in, it fizzed a little and then stopped. So she dumped the next one in, soon she had dumped all of the bottles into the pie plate.

 Taya then started to swirl her fingers through the baking soda and liquid.

 “It’s a swirly rainbow.” She said

 Once all the bottles were dumped the other children lost interest in the provocation. Taya saw this as an opportunity and moved the other pie plate over and started mixing the liquids from her pie plate into it. She swirled her fingers in the plate, leaned down and gave it a smell.

 “Oh it’s a delicious apple pie.” She said


 She smoothed out the goop that was in the plates and announced “I need to put these in the freezer.” She went and created a freezer on the counter by the sink by moving the the dish rack over and then placing some materials parallel to the dish rack. She placed the pie plates between. “Okay they are in the freezer now.”

 Taya continued to play with the pies for some time. Here is the thing I find interesting about this. I had an idea for the children and how they would use it. Taya had an idea too. Both ideas were about transformation and reaction. Each idea approached it differently though. There was a time in my career where I might of shut down Taya’s exploration because I wanted to ensure each child got a turn and had some liquid. I might of shut down the play for fear of conflict. Here is the thing the children weren’t upset that Taya took a different approach. Not all the children wanted to play with the provocation either. They were happy to move on and play something else. I am glad I didn’t shut it down because Taya was clearly invested in her idea and she thought outside my thinking.

About Danielle

Danielle is an Early Childhood Educator,blogger, self admitted ECE geek, Preschool teacher, Mother and project coordinator for The Images of Learning Project. These days she juggles presenting, conference calls and blogging with playing with her daughter and nursing her son. She looks forward to the day where she can once again finish her morning coffee.

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