Sunday, October 27, 2013

How To Make Paper- An Investigation and a Project

As we wondered about leaves and trees, the kids began to wonder about how paper is made from trees. They also wondered what else is made from trees. We started investigating how paper is made. 

We read a book and watched a video on YouTube that showed us the whole process from cutting down the trees to rolling the newly made paper into giant tubes. 

When we initially read that they first had to cut the trees down, the kids did a collective gasp! They didn't seem to like that. This brought us to a discussion about wasting paper and how we don't want to lose so many trees.  When I told them we could recycle paper by using old paper to make new paper, they were intigued. Of course, when I asked them if they would like to explore how this is done and try it ourselves, they were very interested!

We watched three different videos on YouTube for the next couple of days that showed us how to make paper out of old scraps. They gave us some good ideas and showed us what materials we needed. We created a list. 

We collected the materials and then got to work. 

They wanted leaves to crush up into their paper. 

The kids collected thistle, flowers, seeds and grass to put in their paper. A couple friends got a good fine motor workout by pulling the thistle seeds out of thier base!  Of coarse they wanted glitter for their paper!  Everything is prettier with glitter, right?  My husband stapled a screen to a frame to create the tool used for making the pulp into paper. 

They started out by picking out paper from our scrap bins and tearing it up into little pieces. They worked on this for an hour without one complaint and bragged about how strong their finger muscles were getting!

They dumped their scraps into the blender and added leaves or grass, then covered it with water. 

The next step was to blend it to a pulp. They loved being in control of the blender button!

They poured the pulp onto the screen.

They added leaves, glitter or flowers.

They let the water drain out of it and soaked some of the water out by pressing a sponge over the top of the pulp. 

We flipped it over onto a piece of felt and the kids pressed it gently with a sponge to get the water out. 

When we lifted up the screen, it looked like this!  It was still wet and mushy and had to dry overnight before it was stiff enough to take off of the felt. 

As we were making paper, some students decided to create lists to show who made paper and who still needed to make paper.  Talk about purposeful writing!

You can see where it says "Keira has made paper.  Emma has made paper.  Sophia has not made paper."  I love it!
Here is the beautiful paper they created!  We are going to hang them from he branches in our room to display them and add more beauty to our classroom environment!

The kids have been wanting to explore pumpkins after my husband brought a bunch into our room a few weeks ago. We recorded everything they wondered about pumpkins on Friday. This weekend, I will come up with experiences to help them investigate and find out the answers to their questions!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trees and Leaves... an Investigation and Student Documentation Throughthe Arts

As Fall came upon us, it was inevitable that the kids noticed the trees and leaves in our playground. It started out with play!

Before I knew it the kids were trying to bring me every leaf they thought was beautiful!  My hands were so full of leaves everytime I took them outside!  We created a chart to find out what they wondered about leaves and trees and noticed that after the initial wondering about trees, they started wondering about how paper was made from trees and what other things were made from trees.  This was unexpected so I tucked that information into my mind to come back to later!
We went outside and documented the beautiful Ash trees in our playground. They documented what they noticed and labeled the parts of the tree. 

Back in the room they documented what they noticed about trees and leaves in many different ways during our exploration time!

Through clay sculptures...

Through paintings...

Through art by creating leaf people...

Through music by writing a song about leaves and performing it for the class...

Through making leaf rubbings and painting over them with water color...(they also created individual leaf rubbings and labeled the parts and colors of their leaf but I didn't get any photos)

Measuring leaves with different items and recording how long they were...

And making patterns with leaves!

One girl built a forest in the block area using natural blocks I made from a cedar tree and dried leaves, but it all fell over before I could take a picture!

There were many opportunities for the students to practice their speaking and listening skills as they presented ways they documented what they noticed about leaves!

We have also been noticing the weather changes that have been happening as the fall season unfolds! We all had to break out the warm coats this week!

As the interest in leaves is starting to wan, we went to their wonderings about how paper is made from trees...but I will save that for the next post!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Inquiring About A Praying Mantis

At the beginning of the year a dragonfly flew onto our room starting an inquiry about dragonflies. Now, in the middle of our fall inquiry, we received a praying mantis! The kids were so excited!

Observation and documentation started right away by the kids who were the most interested. 

We realized that the Mantis needed food to survive.  When they found out that it ate other insects they were a little upset. We had a discussion about the predictor/prey relationship and after that discussion they were totally fine with feeding it other insects except for dragonflies and ladybugs (They were adamant about that!). About half the class went on a hunt for live insects. I was picturing feeding it a fly or small is what they decided would be a good meal!

They caught the cricket and I put it into the Mantis' cage. We saw that he became real still. We discussed why. Some thought the Mantis was afraid because the cricket was so big. Others thought he was being sneaky to catch it. 

As we were getting ready to go home, they noticed that he caught the cricket! I thought they would be grossed out, but they were fascinated! They whipped those magnifying glasses out to get a closer look!  I wish it had happened earlier in the day so they could have observed it more and documented it, but it was time to leave. When we come back on Monday, we will do some research together to find out more about praying mantises and figure out what Praying Mantises like to eat so that we can catch his favorite insects.
We are still exploring leaves, but I will save that for next week!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Documentation of Our Color Inquiry

Here are a few photos of the documentation showing others of our journey as we inquired about color and shades.