Stems + Their Imaginations = Big Ideas

Stems + Their Imaginations = Big Ideas


Dear Stems families and friends-

Hello and welcome to this week’s journey in the Stems room. Thank you for joining us! This week in the Stems room, we continued to observe connecting/attaching/manipulating/storytelling in the tinker area on the tinkering structure. It has been really interesting to observe the dots interact with the tinker materials and with each other. Some of the dots work collaboratively together while others hold conversations with peers while each is creating independently.

This week, we have continued to see color exploration and color mixing– both inside the sensory bin on the light table with watercolors as well as with tempera paint in cups at the creative expressions area. Along with tinkering and color exploration, we have observed the dots continued to construct structures in the block area. Amidst these areas of interests and explorations, we have observed an underlying interest that may be familiar to those of you who were with us in the Roots room- transformation. 

In this week’s blog we will cover the following-

  • Tinkering
  • Color Exploration
  • Building



As educators, we like to focus on the process, not on the product. That focus applies to our tinkering structure in the tinkering area. Some may ask, “What is the purpose of the structure?” The tinkering structure provides the dots with an opportunity to express themselves, use logical skills, use creative skills, utilize social and emotional skills, as well as collaborative skills. The tinkering structure allows the dots to use their imaginations and just be.

Through transformation by connecting/attaching/manipulating with tinker materials on the tinker structure, we have heard a lot of interesting conversation, heard some great stories, as well as observed conflict negotiation skills being used.

After a couple of days of the tinkering structure being added onto, we noticed that the structure began to look a little extra loved as there wasn’t a lot of space to add new materials to. That’s when we posed the question, “should we add more area to the structure for you guys to add onto?” to the dots. A few of the dots were ecstatic over the idea as they began to draw plans in the air around the structure as to how the new wire and wood should be added and where at on the structure. 

If you remember last week’s blog where a few of the dots drew out their plans prior/post building, we wanted to piggyback on that interest and have the dots draw/write out plans as to how/where the wire and wood should be added to the tinkering structure. In small group, the “Glubby Clubbies” and the “Unicorn Eyeballs” made a plan as to how they would add to the structure of the tinker tray as well as what materials they would use.

Color Exploration

The Stems have continued to show interest in color mixing of tempera paint in cups! The dots appear to have a plan in their heads as to what color/how much of it they’ll need to add. For example, we have heard, “I need a lot of yellow” or “I need a lot of green” when the dots are adding the colors into the cups. Also, some of the dots will wait for a minute or so for a specific color that they want to add next into their concoction of paint. They have also continued to question or formulate statements about what color the paint mixture will transform into.

After the collection of mixed paint grew from 15ish last week to about 30ish this week as well as one of the dots inquiring about bringing his/her paint color home, we asked the dots, “what should we do with the paints that you friends created at Dot-to-Dot?” One of the responses included painting the base of the tinkering structure with the paint as one of the dot’s didn’t like the color brown. One of the dot’s responded that she liked the color brown so that we shouldn’t paint it. In the end, the dots agreed that they could paint some of the materials/pieces of the tinkering structure but not the base/foundation of the structure.


But first… To preserve the dots’ colors that they created before they used them, we wanted to ask them how we could save a sample of their creativity. For provocation, we showed the dots large paint samples, mentioning that the the paint had names just like the dots had names for his/her paint mixture(s)! One of the dots stated that we could paint white squares of paper we had out using the paint color(s) he/she had created! That day during exploration, the dots took turns using their individualized paint creations to paint a square(s) of paper. It was interesting to some of the dots as they noticed that the color that their paint had been changed into a different color over the past couple of weeks!

This week, we placed water colors, pipettes, baby wipes (due to their absorbency), and a wire type ramp in the light table on the sensory bin. This is what we saw-


Layering, balancing, symmetry, lining, creativity, logistics, and depth (just to name a few) are some of what we have observed while the dots have been constructing in the block area.

How does building begin? We have observed that it frequently appears to take planning from the Stems ends.

There is a correct place where/where not to place a cd. There is a correct/incorrect way to set down a stack of blocks. There is a correct/incorrect position to add a curve to a structure.


We look forward to where the ideas of the Stems takes us next week! Things we will focus on next week-

  • Stems’ plans.
  • How the Stems’ ideas change during exploration.
  • The additions to the tinkering structure and how the Stems interact with it.
  • How the Stems transform tinker tray materials with their paint mixtures.

Thank you again for joining us! We look forward to the transformations, observations, stories, and explorations from the dots next week!

Have a wonderful and safe weekend,

Hugs- The Stems Educators