Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dot Art!

I wish we had some sort of art program for students at my school.  It is such a shame kids don't get the opportunity to be creative and explore the different forms of art in school. When my students do work on art projects, they struggle with letting the creativity flow. They are so consumed with their art not being "perfect" etc.

There is a great picture book title "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds explores a child's difficulty with creativity. If you don't have a copy of the book you can show your students the animated version of the book on Youtube.

After watching the video, my students drew a single dot somewhere on their paper. From there they let their creativity flow and drew lines, shapes, whatever their heart desired. They struggled a bit at first, but soon they were drawing! The one rule they had was they couldn't use a pencil, only the marker. This allowed them to get away from things having to be "perfect."

Here is what you will need:
  • white paper 9x9
  • black felt tip pens 
  • watercolors
  • construction paper (to frame the final piece of artwork)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We Made Lava Lamps!

This week I only have 9 out of my 29 students in class. The rest of my kids are at camp (only 80 students are able to go, so the first 80 kids who brought back their paperwork were chosen).  I have one super sweet boy who went last year and said this year he stayed behind so someone who may not have gone last year can go this year. Melts my heart!

So this week has been a great week to review concepts, work on our writing, and of course some fun art and lava lamps!

My students had a blast making their lava lamps! Of course, I had to turn it into a science exploration. So  I told my students what the ingredients were for the lava lamp and they came up with a hypothesis to test. Earlier this year we talked about mixtures, solutions, and chemical reactions. This helped them form their hypothesis.

Here is what you'll need:

  • plastic water bottle
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3-4 drops food color
  • vegetable oil
  • effervescent tablets (Alka-Seltzer)
  • funnel
  • flashlight (or cell phone light... as in my case)

First pour 1/4 cup water into the water bottle and then add 3-4 drops of food coloring. 

Next, fill the rest of the water bottle with vegetable oil. Before they poured the vegetable oil in the water bottle, I asked them to make a prediction on what would happen. After they poured the vegetable oil in the water bottle, I had them record their observations in their science journals. I then asked them to think about why the water and food coloring mixed together, but not the oil. We also discussed density and how water was more dense than the oil.

Wait until the water and oil have separated. The last step is to drop the effervescent tablet into the water bottle (you can have the students leave the lids off or have them put the lids back on after they drop the effervescent tablet in the water bottle). Before they did this I had them make a prediction on what would happen once they dropped the effervescent tablet into the water bottle. They've participated in a few other activities this year with effervescent tablets and chemical reactions.  It was awesome to see them think back to those lessons and activities when making their predictions.

I had my students observe the difference between adding one fourth of a tablet versus two fourths and then half a tablet. 

Eventually, the bubbles slow down and stop. However, they can take their lava lamps home and start the process all over again by just adding some Alka-Seltzer.

Leave it to me to forget a flashlight! Thank goodness for cell phones with lights on them! Whoo hoo! Of course I had to take photos (yup left my regular camera at home too) with my phone. But lucky for me one of my kiddos had his phone stashed away in his backpack. Not the best photo, but it sure was cool.

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