A Fall Mandala Provocation

Provocations can be described as deliberate and thoughtful actions taken by adults to provoke or extend children’s thinking. Interesting invitations as such are starting points to encourage interest, involvement, creativity, and thinking. The goal is to spark interest, ideas, theories, questions that engage the children’s thinking.

I am truly inspired by Andy Goldsworthy and Dietmer Voorwold’s work of creating art by using natural materials such as rocks and leaves by arranging them into simple but beautiful geometric shapes and patterns.

Introducing the concept of using natural materials to create beautiful  temporary art was my goal for this invitation. I shared pictures of arrangements created by both artists with the children to inspire their creative thinking. Natural materials were set out in baskets and trays. They were free to take the mandala apart and start a new one or to add to the one I started.

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The children were fascinated by the shells. Jack picked up the biggest shell and held it up to his ear. “I can hear something” he said. He then held the shell up to Yousuf’s ear. “Can you hear something?” he asked. “What is it?” Asked Yousuf. It was interesting to see Jack sharing information that had been shared with him previously. This is a perfect example of how absorbent children are and they definitely retain information especially when it is during a personal experience that they call “play”.

We all took a close look at the shell and I pointed out the shape of each shell. We discussed the rushing sound that they could hear was the noise from within the classroom, echoing within the cavity of the shell.

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Here are a few pictures of their creative learning.

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The children absolutely loved this experience and spent a lengthy period of time exploring and creating their works of art. Embedded within this activity is mathematical opportunities for pattern making, visual balance, and sorting according to shape and size.