Playing with our Colored Salt Shaker

A few weeks ago the children created paintings using ice-cream salt and watercolors. We collected the extra salt from their paintings, dried it and put it inside our clear fascinator boxes to create a new exploration. Once the children got their hands on the boxes, they immediately picked up on the percussive possibilities.

The children all shook the boxes around joyfully and banged them on the table. One child especially enjoyed shaking the box up and down with both hands while “singing” loudly. He shows exceptional interest in music and is always making a rhythm, dancing or being musical in class.

This experience primarily engaged the students’ sense of hearing. The children get in touch with their musical side, gathering an understanding of rhythm and volume. They learned about cause and effect, discovering that the harder and faster they shook their box, the louder and quicker the sound. This drew a connection between physical force, speed and the creation of rhythm.

You will notice in the videos that the children respond and react differently to the sounds of their peers shaking their boxes. Two of the children spent some time trading off, with on child shaking his box first, and another responding by shaking her box. The idea that communication can exist through music is shown through these interactions.

Ultimately, music and rhythm are important forms of emotional expression. The physical technique and force used when shaking the boxes can serve as an emotional and creative outlet. Shaking the boxes more rapidly and forcefully can exert more extreme emotions like excitement, joy or anger; where as shaking the boxes softly might provide a more soothing experience.

Playing with rhythm and sound is not only a fun experience, but also a great way to connect with oneself, interact with others and express emotion and creativity.

Color mixing with chalk pastels

This week, we have had so much fun exploring a new art material- chalk pastels! In order to challenge the children a little bit, we have been giving them new materials for them to mix colors with. This change of pace keeps them on their toes, excited about learning, and broadens their tool set for artistic expression.

We began the exploration by asking the students a question: “If we mix paint to create new colors, can we mix the pastels to create a new color as well?” House Room students all agreed that the pastel primary colors would change!

We immediately began to mix the colors to create our new ones. After a few moments of good effort, the children realized that the colors were not mixing. One of the other children thought the technique was wrong, so we adjusted the way we were holding our pastels and tried again.

When that did not work, we then asked, “Why do these colors not mix, but paint does?” Here are some of the students’ answers:

·      “We were moving our hands too slow”

·      “Because they are not watery”

·      “They are too hard”

After our discussion we decided that water would be our best bet to make the colors mix! We got a small cup of water and began dipping our pastels in it to test our new theory. To our amazement the colors began to mix. Suddenly, we saw purple, orange and green!

To conclude our project, we had one last discussion on why the water helped mix the colors. This is what we said: 

·      “The water made it mix” 

·      “It made orange because it was so wet” 

·      “It melted the colors together” 

This activity was filled with valuable learning and skill-building opportunities. Using their prior knowledge about paint to draw conclusions about the unfamiliar chalk pastels showed the children’s understanding of comparison and contrast. The children built upon teamwork and problem solving skills by troubleshooting as a group.

By practicing different techniques, the children worked on fine motor skills and learned about the concepts of angles and pressure. Science was brought into this exploration as the students honed the process of hypothesizing, testing and drawing conclusions. Communication was key throughout this entire process, allowing the children to practice communicative skills, build relationships and learn to value the input of others.