April 16, 2016

Drawing from Life

Still life and pre-Kindergarten might sound impossible. Oxymoronic. But look! It happened!

Thanks to an influx of succulents in my life and some beautifully blossoming city trees, we had lots of plant life on hand to draw. 

Students spent a (4 y/o relative) long time observing the plants and fruit with their best "looking eyes", noticing the 3d shapes of the pots, the shapes of the flowers and leaves, and the relation of the plants to their surroundings.

We discussed the differences and similarities we saw, learned some still life vocab (like baselines and foreground and background) AND even got to watch Cookie Monster eat paint a still life.

Some students worked on their projects for multiple days (which is a BIG "persistence" win for us), and their final artworks were a mix of oil pastels and watercolor. Pretty fantastic.

April 11, 2016

Pendulum Painting

My pre-Kindergartners made some crazy intricate line paintings using a pendulum! Took a little trial and error on my part - but we ended up with a pretty alright set up, using a fully extended tripod on top of a table, a length of string and a water bottle/glue bottle contraption* as the bob for our pendulum. See?

For this project, we really took some time to focus on the order of the steps involved. Students choose a color of (way watered down) paint, it was poured into the bottle and they kids practiced sending the bob in straight lines or in oval or circle shapes. Students watched as the paint bob lost velocity and made smaller and smaller turns around the canvas, and we all got very painty, every day.

We painted on paper, on fabric, on cardboard and on canvases. Our makeshift pendulum made lots of beautiful collaborative artwork, and snuck in a lot of scientific thinking and vocabulary!

Here's some of the scientific concepts we explored. While these definitions are a little heavy for little kids, I found it was a good refresher for *this* teacher. (It's good to be able to talk about your projects at both a Kindergarten AND adult level, right??)

Pendulum: an overhead support, from which a string hangs, and an object at the bottom end of the string. The object swings back and forth under the combined influence of gravity and the string.
Oscillate: back and forth motion of the pendulum bob.
Amplitude: maximum distance bob travels from equilibrium point
Gravity: force that pulls the bob down
Velocity: speed of the pendulum and speed of the change of direction

*while making dinner a few days after completing this project, I realized that empty Sriracha bottles would be perfect and ideal for this project!