At Morning Meeting today we were discussing the upcoming change in weather. For those of you not in our locale, it is 56 degrees here today with rain. Tonight, this will change drastically. We are expecting up to a tenth of an inch of ice this evening with 3-6 inches of snow tomorrow and a high of around 17. I posited the question, “Where does the ice come from?” (They weren’t too keen on my idea that the ice came from trays in the sky.)
When they decided that it came from the sky and the rain, I wondered where the rain came from. One of the children offered that it happened because of the water cycle. She then explained to us that the water cycle meant that the water on the ground evaporated, went up into the sky, made clouds, and then fell back to earth. We tried to find an explanation of “evaporate” and only came up with “you need to have something yellow, like the sun” to make it happen. Finally, another child explained that the sun made the water hot and turned it into vapor. The vapor then goes up to become the clouds and the water vapor parts bonk into each other and get heavier, making it rain. (I still think my idea that there is a big watering can sprinkling water on the Earth is more interesting.)
Then I began to wonder where the snow came from. It took a bit of thinking, but it was finally decided that when it is cold, the water “melts” and turns into ice which turns into snow. I foresee some experiments in our future.
The children discovered a large pile of ice chunks today. Within five minutes, everyone in the class was involved in excavating the various shapes and adding them to collections. Many ideas were attempted to dismount the ice from the surrounding snow. Sticks were used to pry up the edges. Shovels chopped at the large swaths of ice covering the grass. Ice found on abandoned sleds was dislodged through semi-gentle whacking upon the porch.
Getting the ice to its destination was another feat, altogether. At first, the children carried individual pieces to their collection points. When that proved to be too laborious, sleds were employed for the purpose.
The collections were varied and ran from large to small. Some children aimed to claim as many pieces of ice as possible. Other groups gathered the largest chunks they could find. One child carefully chose the three she thought were the most beautiful. The grand purpose of most of the collections was the process of finding and gathering the ice. A few, however, did choose to add their ice to their in-game play scenario. The picture below with the crushed snow/ice belongs to a story of cooking and preparing for a party.
When we returned from winter break on Monday, we discussed what our next topic of study should be. Surprisingly, there was really only one suggestion and it was agreed upon by all immediately: Colors. This actually grew out of a discussion we had many weeks ago, yet the ever-amazing children recalled it quickly when I asked what they wanted to learn about. Thus, this week we’ve been exploring colors.
Our first experiment involved large chunks of ice that we found in the sleds outside. Each child had their own piece. The center of the table held a container of liquid watercolors in blue, red, and yellow, each with droppers for testing.
The children choose which colors they wanted to try and began dropping colors onto their ice. Some of them chose to use the same color repeatedly, ending up with a solid color of ice. Others mixed two colors and made loud exclamations when they realized that they had made a new color. A few quickly used all of the colors and wanted to know why the water under their ice was “black”.
Our next project was creating a rainbow using tissue paper and watered down glue. We used the three primary colors to create each of the colors we needed. Although the test version of combining light blue, yellow, and red tissue paper made lovely versions of purple, orange, and green, our actual dry rainbow’s secondary colors are a bit hard to pick out. However, the children were just as excited as they painted the glue on when the two wet pieces mixed and created a new color.
The most gooey of the projects this week was definitely our color equations. Following a discussion about primary colors, each child picked two primary colors which were then painted on their hands. Each color was then printed on a large sheet. Hands were rubbed together vigorously, followed by a third hand print. Plus and equal signs were added later. We completed this activity by sharing our findings and learning that these new colors are called secondary colors.