November 1, 2016

Magic Beads

Ever since I first laid (internet) eyes on Ugo Rondinone's Seven Magic Mountains outside of Vegas, I've been itching to hear what kids had to say about it.


We looked at images, but more importantly watched drone footage of these SEVEN, THIRTY FOOT TALL, DAY-GLO STACKS OF ROCKS in the middle of the desert. Lucky for us, people seem to like to go to the desert and send their little flying robots around out there, making videos for us to show our students! (Thx, drone nerds. Really.)

My co-teacher and I knew we wanted to teach Seven Magic Mountains this year, and tossed around a whole bunch of possible ways to facilitate it. Obviously, our study started with questions (and loads of counting):

  • Where is this?
  • How big are they? How many?
  • Why are the rocks those colors?
  • How did they get on top of each other? 
  • How are they MAGIC?!
Our initial plan involved large, abstract, stackable, 3d shapes made from cardboard and papier mache. After some experimentation, it became clear this wasn't feasible in the week we had to complete this project, and so I instead turned to errybody's favorite, Model Magic (while my colleague went with airdry clay and neon paint, also beautiful).



My students mixed MAGIC colors using primary and white hues, and created roundish-but-not-perfectly spherical shapes that we turned into beads. 





A couple days of dry time and the beads were ready to be strung into necklaces almost as magical as the real deal.  (We used my favorite fatty neon yarn from Pacon. Get it.)


We indeed ended up with some special, magical totems that we LOVE. 


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