embracing beyblade play

testing beybladesA group of boys has been very interested in constructing beyblades.  It started with them spinning letter blocks on one of their corners.  Yes, I was hoping the letter blocks would encourage them to read the letters and maybe make some words, but they were much more interested in spinning them.  One of the things I’ve learned from the Reggio approach and about the inquiry process is to question my initial reactions, to honour the things that interest the children, to be patient, and to understand that we sometimes have to step out of our comfort zones.  So, rather than ask them to stop, I looked at the situation as an opportunity for this group to engage in some science and math explorations while developing some literacy skills.  I encouraged the boys to make their own beyblade so they went over to the studio and many of them decided to make them out of cardboard.  They soon found that their creations were not very sturdy and did not spin for long.  A few days later, they moved on to using the linking cubes and there was no turning back.  I asked why the cubes were better.  beyblade pointy part

“Because this thingy can spin on it.”  

“You have to try and balance the beyblade with the pointy part so it doesn’t fall.”

The play soon became about smashing their blades into one another and it was clear that it was time to gently guide the play and to add a provocation that might take the learning to a different level.  I decided to lay out different surfaces and observe how the boys might use their “beyblades.”  Construction paper, cardboard, a woven panel, a section of carpet and a section of the floor became defined testing spaces.  Using SMART Ideas, I also projected a cliplet of a clock to see if they would make use of it.  I sat back and observed.  They immediately began to try the different surfaces.  One of the boys also took recording beyblade resultsthe lid from one of the bins and decided to try that.  It didn’t take long before they were all around the hoop on the floor.  The next day, I posted some pictures of their play on a piece of chart paper in order to encourage them to record some of their observations.  This inspired some of my earliest as well as reluctant writers to record their findings.  I asked them where their beyblade spun the best.  They all agreed it was “on the floor because it’s not so rough and not so light,” and that their beyblade would spin longer.  When I asked how they knew this, they pointed to the clock to show me, but none of them knew how to use the clock.  They all counted at different speeds as their blades were spinning, so we talked about using the clock because it was “fair” and we learned how to count the second-hand as it moved.

After speaking to a few teachers recently, I discovered that students in their classes have also been interested in beyblades.  Another of our Kindergarten classes made a stadium.  It would be interesting to pay them a visit.

Our friend Ms. Babalis from the York Region District School board has a wonderful blog where she has posted what the children in her class discovered about spinners and movement.  I plan to share her post with this group to see if it will inspire them further.

10 thoughts on “embracing beyblade play

  1. I am impressed with what you captured the students doing. Integrating Smart Ideas by using the clock and the chart that students were recording on was very intuitive.

  2. This is fantastic! I’ve had the same experience in my classroom with “bey blades”. Love your ideas for provoking deeper investigation. One activity our boys did was to count how long their bey blades spun, then record the number and their name on a leader board. Like in your class, it engaged some of my most reluctant writers. I can’t wait to show my boys your pictures. We have some pics up on our blog too.

  3. Everyday it amazes me how children from classrooms across Ontario (maybe even the world) have similar imaginations. The boys in my class have been making Beyblades with Lego and unifix cubes for the past few months and I didnt know where to take them with it. I have just stumbled across your Blog and I am so happy I did. Now I know where to go. Thank you 🙂

    • Lately, it seems everyone I talk to has been having similar experiences with Beyblade play in their classrooms. I think the fact that we’re thinking about ways to work it in to our programs is great because it’s something that interests and engages the children. I’d love to hear how you make out with Beyblades in your class. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment! Good luck!

  4. I too have a group of kindergarten boys (and 2 girls) on the beyblade craze! I’ve tried to turn their interest towards the math/ science learning that is possible. They can ask many ” I wonder” questions related to size, speed, length of spin, number of cubes, where it spins best, however when it comes time to test out their theories they are right back into smashing into each other and whooping and hollering, including some ganging up on another student to always crash his. This has brought about teachable moments related to personal/ social. I am now at the point that if they can not follow their agreed upon rules (developed by them in a group meeting) they will have to leave the play. I am wondering if anyone has suggestions for how to keep the ” battle” element of beyblade play in a positive way. I saw mention in this post of a stadium idea. I might try two box lids side by side on a table, with an appropriate timer (I don’t have access to a smartboard)? Does anyone have other ideas.

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