If you were already following us on social media at the end of last summer, you might perhaps remember that we spent a bit of time on ‘sink or float’ activities back then, such as described in this facebook post I wrote about a year ago:
Now, jumping back to the present time: Penguin brought a book out the other day which has a few facts about sinking and floating in it, and he looked at those particular pages with great interest. He went back to it again the following day, so I interpreted that as him being interested in some repetition of what we’d previously been learning about sinking and floating.
So, we started off by watching a couple of short videos (aimed at children) about why and how some things float and others don’t. We then picked out a few items to test, made a chart together, which I laminated (for waterproofing and so that we can use it more than once), and then used bathtime for a bit of sinking and floating! Penguin put an X on the chart for ‘sink’ or ‘float’ after each item tested.
The following day, Penguin got the book out to look at those same pages again, so I gathered a few other items together, and we went outside a threw them into the paddling pool, one by one, to test their buoyancy.
The AAC app (that’s an app for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, in which you press pictures/symbols to generate speech) which we’re now using (or trying to learn to use, to be more accurate) already came with a page for simple sink or float experiments set up in it. I changed the suggested items on the page to ones we had at hand, so that Penguin could name the object we were testing, then chuck it in, then tell me what happened; Did it sink or float? I initially tried to get him to guess before throwing the item in, but that just seemed to annoy him too much so I gave that up.
Pictured above left you see the book Penguin’s been using, the relevant page in our AAC app, and the items we took outside to test in the paddling pool. About 90 minutes after we got back in, we sat down to make a chart and to recall the results from our experiment (using the AAC app again to name each object, to say whether it had sunk our floated, and then put an X in the right place on the chart). Our finished chart can be seen on the right here.
I’m not sure if the facts about bouyancy will ever be of great use to Penguin. But he showed an interest so why not pick up on that? It meant us doing activities together which included multisensory stimulation, mark making, communication (including AAC) etc. For me, those more generic learning aspects carry more importance than the facts about how things float or not. If Penguin finds the more scientific side of it interesting, I’m happy about that too of course, but it’s the general life skills and overall development which can come through his interests that excites me most.
I’m sure this isn’t specific to us but applies to learning in general for a lot of people, at all different levels. You might be studying a specific subject, but what you’re actually learning, the skills you’re developing etc, is not so much about the subject of study. Perhaps you have some experiences yourself which you can relate this to (whether it applies to your own learning, or that of your children, or others)?
Before I go, I’d also like to add that Penguin later went back to his book and pointed at the big ship, and said “bo” (for boat). He doesn’t often verbalise things unprompted like that, so that was really nice to see. Perhaps he’s trying to tell us that he’d like to go on a cruise?! I’m afraid that’s not on the cards matey, at least not anytime soon. But who knows, maybe someday…?
Thanks so much for reading! Comments, questions, ideas and reflections are as always very welcome below x
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