“Maybe they’ll untie the knots.”

We posed a provocation for thought and discussion during a whole group meeting. 

The children responded with predictions, observations, questions, and empathy.

We are going up to the museum to see how workers will deinstall Sheila Pepe's work. How do you think it will come down?

Maybe they’ll untie the knots.  Avery

Does that mean actually unknot all that orange and all the blue and green? Eleanor

I think they’ll just take it down cuz that will take too long.  Callen

I don’t think they can do the rope cuz it’s all knotted.  Parker

It’s not knotted it’s braided.

How will they do the blue rope?

Maybe they’ll just pull it down in one pull. Avery motions with a yank.

Without breaking it? Sofia

Sheila Pepe will be sad.  She won’t like that.

That’s okay cuz they’re taking it down.  Alex

They want to make it into something else.

And she won’t be mad cuz she told them [to do it].  Sofia

What tools might they use?

I think they pulled it down and unknotted it.  They climbed up a ladder.  Parker

Cut it!  Callen

With an ax!  Elliott

How can they carry the blue rope out of the museum?

80,000 thousand people.  Sofia

Unhook it.  Sophie

Will they need three whole days?  Eleanor

A month.  Callen

I’m ready to go! Alex

Slow.  Avery

It will take one thousand days.

They throw it away.

Slow, cuz if they take it down fast… Elliott

Use it for something else.  Parker

Up the hill and into the museum!

Pausing at the stairs we first listened . . .


I hear a drill.  Sophie

That’s a saw.  Callen

It’s a chainsaw.  Elliott


That’s a trumpet.  Parker

A truck.  

There’s a road up there.  If there’s a truck the whole ceiling will fall.  Callen

A firm alarm.

An alarm is warning to let us out.  Avia

After predictions, came observations . . . and further predictions, questions, and ideas!

I don't see any more Sheila Pepe!
I had a prediction that was correct.
It's down. Maybe they'll fold it.
It looks like a sea orange ocean on the dirt.
Roll it up.
Avery & Sophie
What are they going to do with the other part?
It's twirled. In a bunch.
First they did the blue, so the orange won't crash down on it.
They took off their shoes cuz they don't want to get the art inspiration dirty.
Maybe they had to practice to be really good.
Maybe they did different art work and learned how it came down.
Maybe there's a hard knot they need to talk about.
Avia, on why the workers may be conversing.

The following day, two children decide to record.

Our relationship with the deCordova creates a provocation for learning. Children engage in inquiry about the life of a work of art. How is this sculpture coming down? A question leads them into collaborative research. They pose new questions, they draw on prior knowledge and gather new information to develop ideas. They find joy in recording their observations and ideas. Responding to each other, a common understanding grows alongside their relationships with each other and with the museum -- the place and the people who work there.