The teacher told a story to her class of children aged 5 and 6 about an ant who fell into the river. A dove flying by wanted to help the ant. By providing an inquiry-based problem that had more than one solution and by giving children autonomy to come up with their own ideas, the children were able to plan their investigations and showed creativity in generating their own ideas about which materials to use and how to test them, using their imagination and making connections with prior experiences.
The children discussed natural materials in the forest the dove might use to help keep the ant afloat. A variety of materials was made available, including nuts, feathers, wooden sticks, leaves, little stones, acorns, pieces of bark, fir cones. Each group discussed their own predictions about the materials they thought most suitable to save the ant. They were given small containers with water to test their ideas about which materials in the forest could be used as little ‘boats’ for the ant. Children were able to record and communicate findings in their own ways. Children shared and evaluated their findings, drawing on evidence from their observations, to justify conclusions about whether this object would be appropriate to help save the ant.