Tuesday, May 31, 2011

water, sunlight, and mirrors

This was supposed to be a lesson on refraction, but there wasn't much sun today so we had fun with reflection instead. I love taking the curriculum outside whenever possible. Sunlight is always preferable to fluorescent light and an added bonus was dipping our hands in cold water on a hot day.

I filled up some smallish white  tubs with two sizes of mirrors. One tub had clear water and one tub was tinted a pale purple. 

Later I added some colored translucent shapes to spice things up since there wasn't any direct sunlight. 

I didn't document any of their thoughts today because my hands were busy in the tubs as well! 

The end! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Robin Egg Blue

The children were really interested in making nests and eggs out of clay. When I suggested we mix colors (something I know they like to do from previous color mixing activities) to make 'robin's egg blue' I ran out of seating at the art table and we had to work in shifts. 

I offered the children white, blue, and yellow paint. From experience they knew they would need a lot of white but we didn't know how much yellow or blue. We began mixing colors using a photo of the eggs as a reference. 
After we mixed we painted a swatch and decided if the color was accurate or if we had to add more yellow or blue. 
A: It needs more blue. It needs to be darker:

V: This color matches. 

They then proceeded to paint their robin's eggs. 
The end! 

clay nests & eggs

After viewing the robin's nest, the children were very interested in making representations out of clay. Even though we had a clay station open most of the year, we've only used it purposefully a few times. The children seemed at ease, though. 

They pushed and pinched the clay, making a bowl shape:
They broke off pieces and rolled it to make eggs:
Some children even decided add grass to their nests:

The end! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Robin's Nest

The other day when I was taking J to school, we noticed a bird's nest just laying on the ground outside a mostly unused back door. I thought maybe it was an abandoned nest and dismissed it from my mind. However, two days ago, we discovered a robin had laid an egg! 

The following day we noticed yet another egg and it was then I realized I had to take my Pre-K class to see this wonder. 

Before we went, we listed all the things we knew about birds. I've charted their thoughts and separated them into a few categories:

What do birds do?
What do birds have?
Where are birds?
What do nests have?
What kinds of birds are there?
In the sky
Have sticks
Stay in a nest
In a cage
Have leaves
Lay eggs
Two legs
In a tree
Have mud

Different  colors
On branches
Have grass




Eat bird seeds

Eat worms

Give food to babies


After our discussion, I split the children into two groups and took them to see the nest, journals in had. We sat in a circle and just used our eyes to observe. 

Here is what they had to say:
D: They're baby eggs
A: I like baby eggs. We're going to see two birds.
?:They made a beautiful nest.
D: Wait a second! There's mud!
A: When they get bigger they can fly.
S: They have sticks.
D: The mom's going to come back from the tree. 
M: And sit on the nest!
D: The babies will crack it when they be big boys. They will eat worms. 
K: I want to see them hatch. 
V: Oh! A little tiny tiny nest! 
E: Look! Mines has two eggs
K:When they hatch, I want to see the chicks.
V: It's cute!
E: I made a flag so they guys don't mow the nest down.
V: I've seen eggs before.
K: What do eggs feel like?

While I was talking to a student, one child decided to give the birds a gift of a dandelion. Others quickly followed suit. I was concerned we may have caused damaged and the momma wouldn't return.

When our afternoon class went out for their turn, I realized I had nothing to worry about as we discovered that there we not two, but three eggs. Momma robin had been busy during lunch break! 
M: Look at the blue eggs!
K: Are the baby birds in the nest?
A: When will the eggs hatch?

While looking at the nest, I noticed its proximity to an empty room with a wall of windows near the nest. I asked the children if they wanted to spy on the robin to watch her return to her nest.
K: She's sitting on her nest! She looks frozen.
M: She is very still

Here is a sample of some of their journal pictures, three year old's on top, fours on the bottom:

Based on their words, (seven references to eggs, six to nests) I will see if they are interested in making their own visual representations of eggs and nests. 

The end! 
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