Early STEM Award 2022 – QLD Winner
Glass House Early Education Centre
Our interest in Humpty Dumpty was inspired by a quick rhyme and a yoga pose we practice every morning. We curl up into eggs and sing the nursery rhyme which ends with Humpty cracking. However, one day, curiosity led to discussions about poor Humpty’s fate, and we decided to investigate how we could save Humpty from cracking into pieces.
We began our exploration with an initial experiment: pushing Humpty (an egg) off a wall (the table) and formed a hypothesis about what would happen. Following the scientific method, we posed a question, listed our materials and equipment, detailed our method, and made our hypothesis.
During the project introduction, the children were encouraged to share their hypotheses in our sharing circle. While there was agreement that Humpty would crack, the specifics of what might happen were intriguing. As a group we talked about and recorded the children’s thoughts regarding what we would see, hear, smell, and feel and referred to these notes throughout the children’s exploration. For example, one child hypothesised that if we pushed Humpty onto a blanket, Humpty would crack open, but the floor would not be slimy.
Naturally, our first experiment didn’t go so well for Humpty. So, our next step was to brainstorm ways (variables) we could change our experiment to achieve an unbroken Humpty. The children produced a fantastically creative list of possibilities. We wrote each child’s name next to their idea so that we could call on them to assist the experiment when it came time to test their variable.
First, we tried catching Humpty. As this was Lexi’s idea, Lexi was the one to attempt to catch Humpty as he fell. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quick enough to catch him and he fell onto the ground and broke. Lexi explained to us that the reason she wasn’t quick enough was because she needed to be closer to him as he fell. We decided that the next day we would try again, sitting closer to Humpty to see if that helped. It didn’t…
Next, we tested Eli’s idea of wrapping Humpty in tape. Each child applied masking tape around Humpty before we pushed him off the wall. The anticipation was extremely high as we slowly peeled each piece of tape off Humpty to see if our idea had worked. This time, Humpty only had a small crack, so we were excited that we had moved closer to saving him.
The next day, we tried Zak’s idea of pushing him onto a blanket. This wasn’t so successful, but Benjamin explained that if we held the blanket up off the floor, to create a net to catch him in, he wouldn’t hit the hard floor at all and would probably survive. We tried that the next day with Benjamin taking the lead with that experiment.
We continued in this way every day over the three weeks. We followed our science report template, allowing children to share increasingly detailed hypotheses, conduct experiments, and discuss outcomes and future steps.
Our project remained captivating for the entire group, as none of our ideas had fully saved Humpty. Until our final experiment! At this point, the children put a few of our best ideas together: wrapping Humpty in paper and pushing him off the table onto a pillow laid on top of a blanket. By doing this, when Humpty rolled off the pillow he landed onto another soft surface. Humpty was saved!
So, what happened to poor Humpty after the experiment? Thankfully, throughout the project, some children were designing and created a soft and comfortable home for Humpty so that he wouldn’t fall off anymore walls. This is where our ‘saved’ Humpty now resides, sitting happily in his home and watching over us at Kindy. This was a very egg-citing way to end our project!