"Chana! It is called a 'nail'! That is not a screw!" Yochanan exploded. Chana was busy playing on the tap tap board and was confused by his outburst.
"I know because..." she started to explain.
"Yes they are the same," Yitzy argued back. "They are both for building things."
I decided it was time for me to explain this important distinction in hardware and construction.
"Yitzy, you are right that both nails and screws are for building. But like Yochanan said, they are not the same. You keep making your beautiful work. I am going to borrow something from Mr. Brown to show you the difference."
I returned with a handful of assorted nails and screws in different colors and sizes. I showed them the smoothness of a nail versus the inclined plain of a screw. I encouraged them to feel them and sort them.
The distinction between the two was clear to some, like Yochanan, but others struggled to sort based on that feature. They wanted to sort on size or color.
Some students tried to hammer in the screws. Everyone had fun comparing the two. I added giant plastic screws into the mix to make the comparison clearer.
During this play time we built a lot- including our vocabulary of building equipment.