Imagine yourself in a kindergarten classroom. Amidst bright walls and happy chatter, students are bustling about, moving from station to station to explore different concepts related to shadows and light.
At one station, a little boy named David is holding a stick up to a lightbulb to form shadows, and using Unifix Cubes to measure the shadow’s length at different angles.
He holds the lamp close to the ground: The shadow lengthens. He holds the lamp higher off the ground: The shadow shortens. Hmm, he thinks. The length of the shadow changes as I move the lamp.
In a busy room full of energetic five-year-olds, it might be tempting as a teacher to walk by David and say, “Keep up the great work!” or ask a quick question such as, “What happens to the shadow when you move the lamp?” and then respond “Interesting!” and move on to another student.
However, this approach is unlikely to support David’s learning. Asking a quick question prompts only shallow processing—in this case, David would likely respond, “My shadow changes.” Without stopping to think hard or engage in “deep processing” about why the shadow is moving, he may not remember this lightbulb moment or its significance.