Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Exploring Force and Motion: Physics Through Art

We learned that all motion is either caused by two kinds of force. Pushing or pulling. I set out clay and let them explore by using the forces of pushing and pulling using their hands and clay tools.

We then used these forces on the clay to create pinch pots! They pushed and pulled with their fingers and then pushed using clay tools to add a personal touch.

They wanted to add some color so they painted them with liquid watercolor.

We also explored by using force and motion to create a collaborative piece of art. First they pushed and pulled large brushes to mix the colors for the base.

Ramps are an amazing way to create motion! This brought up the question of what force pulls things down the ramp when they are not pushing them? We learned about how the force of gravity will pull things down. The kids rolled a truck down a ramp through paint onto our canvas. The tracks showed the motion.

I think this was my favorite stage of this painting!

We continued exploring the way inclined planes used gravity as a force to create motion. They slashed some paint on the canvas and had to adjust the incline to change the direction of the marble’s motion and get it through the paint! 

We created a pendulum for the kids to explore motion with. We filled it with watered down paint and the kids pushed or pulled it certain ways to create a circular motion.

Instead of running, the paint dripped, so it was a different effect than we expected but everyone loved the result!

They sprinkled paint onto the canvas, letting gravity pull it down, then pushed and pulled the paint with a piece of cardboard.

We were using pastel colors, but when I wasn’t looking, they added some bright pink and orange. We all loved their choice!

Lastly, they flicked paint onto the canvas to give it the finishing touch! This method was introduced by a little friend in our class!

I love our finished collaborative force and motion art! It truly is a beautiful art piece!

Here is the progression of our canvas!

They also created individual art using force and motion also!

Here is our documentation of the process and what we learned about physics through art in the hallway.

Stay tuned to see how force and motion, especially through inclined planes, sparked an interest in simple machines!

Here are a few pics to show some of the literacy and math experiences that thy hav been visiting...

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Investigating Snow

I set out some invitations to provoke their thinking about snowflakes! They were very aware of what snow looked and felt like, but not as individual snowflakes! I was curious what they would notice! I set out nonfiction books about snow, close-up pictures of snowflakes and random materials for them to use the language of art to show what they notice.

Using open ended materials that we call “loose parts” in our room, they showed me that they had some awareness of symmetry in snowflakes. They also made the snowflakes show different emotions! Can you see the cotton swab tears in the second flake? 

The fourth one in this group is feeling sweaty! So creative! Again, you can see the creative and mathematical thinking going on here as they create symmetrical patterns on the flakes, just like in the real photos! Math, science and art all mashed together! Many collaborated and worked as a team to create these!

I set out an invitation for them to show what they noticed using clay. This was not easy as our non-drying clay was as hard as rock! They really gave their finger muscles a workout trying to tear pieces off and warm/soften them up! Working these muscles will help with their handwriting!

As they looked closer they noticed that most snowflakes had a hexagonal shape to them, especially in the middle! This is what helped them realize they had six sides, since a hexagon has six sides.

I also set out an invitation for them to create stories about the fun to be had in the snow. They played and wrote stories about sledding, getting buried in the snow, snowball fights and building snowmen.

Here is a first page of a story two friends were creating together through what we call “small world play.”

Another story inspired by this area.

We looked outside one day and big fluffy snowflakes started falling! It was 62 and sunny the day before so we were very excited! We stopped what we were doing, grabbed some black paper and magnifying glasses and went outside to look closer at some real snowflakes! They noticed the patterns like they saw in the photos! 

We went inside and looked even closer with snowflake photos and created observational drawings of snowflakes. I was amazed at the detail they captured as they drew as scientists! They wrote a sentence about something they noticed about their snowflake.

We created snowflakes with pattern block shapes. Like real snowflakes, no two were alike!

I created another invitation to encourage them to create stories, this time about animals in winter. I added some nonfiction to see if this area piqued any interest to investigate winter animals further. I plan on making white play dough to add here to explore animals footprints in the snow. These plastic animals have realistic footprints!  I can’t wait to see what stories they create here!

We brought some snow in for them to play in and explore.

Of course, days after a snowstorm, when the snow was not too deep for normal shoes, we all went outside and played in the snow. Their favorite activity (and mine) was pelting me with snowballs!