In conjunction with our new big idea of ‘Cause and Effect’, we decided to make peppermint bark as a special holiday treat for all of the Quartz families. (Spoiler alert for any children who were not at daycare today).
First, we started by crushing small candy canes. Our choice of ‘crushers’ were: a large heavy spoon; a rubber mallet; and, a meat cleaver. We put one candy cane in a small plastic bag and then tested out our tools. Through testing by cause and effect, we concluded that the rubber mallet worked the best. It worked so well, that in fact, with one strong and accurate blow, Sylvie was able to crush the candy cane into smithereens! To our surprise and delight, it practically vanished! The older children exclaimed, “Where did it go?” That’s a good question.
Next step in the process was to melt the chocolate. We boiled water and put it into a large bowl. Then we set a bowl on top of the water and added the chunks of chocolate. Everyone touched the outside of the bottom bowl and commented on how hot it was. We felt the chunks of chocolate and tapped them on the table to see how hard they were. With much patience and observation, we finally started to see a change in the chocolate chunks. They were getting smaller and starting to melt. Once again, it was the older children who excitedly verbalized what they were seeing – “It’s melting!”
Of course once the chocolate melted, we added the crushed candy canes and poured the mixture onto cookie sheets. The room smelled amazing!
This experience has given the educators much to reflect on. We could go back and examine the process of boiling water. We could also see what other materials melt and what other tools we could use to melt them. Probably the most important reflection we made was that the more complex the language skill of the child was, the more they seemed to be excited and the more they were able to connect with others. We are wondering if it is possible that if you don’t know a word for something, maybe you can’t see it? So did the older children get more value out of the experience than the younger children? We can’t really say. The younger children participated as much as the older children and copied the actions and reactions of the older children. So much to think about.