Monday, June 2, 2014

Inquiring about Chihuly

As the year draws to a close, the kids have been working on one last mini inquiry.  I was showing them images of Chihuly sculptures. He is an artist who uses glass to create art. His work is beautiful and inspiring!

I was hoping to inspire them to create this:

But as things usually go, they didn't even notice this style of Chihuly art... BUT, they all did a collective gasp when they saw this image:

"Can we make that?"  Well, yes, I think so!  

I layed out large and small plastic cups, and large and small plastic plates, along with permanent markers at one of our "We Wonder" stations. They got right to work!

They tried to fill every bit of the cups and plates with color. This took a lot of focus, dedication and persistence to cover every bit of space with bright colors!  I took their finished pieces and put them on tin foil on our grill for about 30 seconds on low heat. They turned out beautiful!

I drilled two small holes into each piece and piled them on the table with a section of chicken wire I found in my garage. The kids took wire pieces, threaded them through the cups, and then twisted the wire through he chicken wire to secure them. Talk about a fine motor work out!  It was very hard for them to do, but as they have proven, they are persistent and never gave up on this project!

After watching a Chihuly video showing his process of creating one of his chandeliers, the kids documented what they learned about Chihuly.  

had run out of plastic cups, but the interest was still there so I dug out some plastic water bottles that would mimic his chandelier style.  

These will make a beautiful addition to our sculpture! Some are also hanging in our tree by the window so the light can catch them!

worried that they would get bored or frustrated and we wouldn't have enough "glass sculptures" to finish the project, but they have been working on this for two weeks and still keep going back to work on it some more!  I am so glad that when something gets difficult, these kids press on!  I am so proud of these kids for showing such dedication and perseverance. It is amazing how many 21st Century Skills a project like this helps develope!

So many skills have been developed from projects such as this one that will help them so much as they leave the early childhood setting and start their new adventure into grade school!  Isn't that what early childhood education is all about? Preparing them by teaching them how to learn?  These kids have learned so much through authentic experiences, play, and projects this year.  Not just the basics of how to read, write and do math, but they have learned how to problem solve without the help of an adult, work together in groups as a team, persist when a task grows difficult, see a project to the end without quitting, come up with creative ideas, create plans and stick to them, but tweak those plans if necessary, get along with others, and respect authority. If we don't take time to teach these life skills in Pre-K and Kindergarten, it will be too late for them later.  When these skills are there, the other learning happens.  I am so proud to work in a district that sees the importance of early childhood education!

Here is our finished product!


  1. What a beautiful creation and yes so many great 21st century learning skills accomplished.
    Bravo! I will show this to my summer JKs and see where they may want to take it.
    Thanks Darla.
    Kim Clark

  2. Darla what an amazing response and product you have achieved with early learners. Thank you for sharing this inspirational work.