Insects made of clay and other stuff

We invited the children to show us what they know about insects using clay and other loose parts. Clay is a great medium for so many reason. It’s malleable for one, which allows the children to make changes to their creations while they are working. 

One dimensional drawings are more challenging when trying to capture the essence of a living thing or anything that isn’t flat for that matter. Working in a three dimensional medium like clay can have its own frustrations but ultimately with perseverance a child can have much “success” creating something they feel looks like what they are trying to create. 

As with the drawings some of the children were very specific about what kind of insect they were making right from the start. There was care for some that went into detail like the way wings sit on the body of a fly.  Others molded and shaped until the specific insect appeared, while others just made an “insect”. 

Look for these awesome creations on the windowsill in our red room. 

Can you draw an insect?

Children show us what they know by expressing themselves through many different mediums. Art is one of those mediums. 

We asked the children if they can draw an insect. We asked,  “What parts would you need to draw in order for the viewer to know its an insect?” We found that the children had a pretty good understanding of the basic parts of an insect, their number of legs, wings,  etc. 

Some  of the children drew very specific insects while others drew  insects that were more generic. Some paid careful attention to the realistic colors their insects were. Some wanted their insects to be their favorite colors . We even had a few “rainbow” colored insects. 

Look for these lovely drawings in the red room under the big windows. 

More symmetry

We used a piece of yarn as another tool to help the children better understand symmetry.

The yarn became incorporated in a different type of loose parts composition. It really seemed to help those having a hard time with the concept see it in a different way. 

Most of our friends were able to create a mirror image composition. 

The end results were really beautiful to look at and the children had so much fun making them.

Insect compositions

We set up a provocation that invited the children to make insects using loose parts. 

We counted body parts and legs to ensure we had the right amount. Some children added other parts to their insect like a stinger, antennas or wings.

 While creating their insects we asked if anyone had noticed that insects where the same on both sides. Most hadn’t noticed but this lead into a discussion about symmetry. 

We read a few books about symmetry and talked about symmetry in nature. Everyone was surprised to see how many things were symmetrical, even their own body!

We used a mirror to help the children better understand by creating a clear visual.

Taking a closer look

As I mentioned in the previous post, when children find dead insects we put them in our bug box. 

Using our really awesome new magnifying glass we took a really good look at each insect in the box. 

One of our friends asked, “why does this one look like a leaf?” Another friend replied, “it makes them be protected “.  We went on to have a great conversation about what the word protection means and  why insects might need protection. 

Along with our close observation we also identified the insects using the books we borrowed from the library, and continued to have interesting and relevant conversations about things we are finding out, and things we are still curious about in relation to insects. 

An interest in insects

The children are always finding insects on our playground. This class has been particularly focused on them. They have remained extremely curious throughout the school year. When they find them alive we try to encourage them to put them in the garden to keep them safe. When they find them dead we put them in our bug box that lives in our work/science room. We have also had to have more than one conversation about remembering to be kind to them. Our friends tend to be a bit rough forgetting sometimes that they are delicate. We are hoping that this inquiry might foster some empathy towards these tiny creatures and help us understand more about their world. 

When we first become interested in a topic as a class we almost always start out with a group discussion. We start out the conversation asking the children what they already know about the topic. In this case insects. The first thing a friend wanted to let us know that he knew is, “they hurt you”. The class was very quick to say “They…

Happy Winter Solstice

Every year the children make a gift to give their parents at our Winter potluck.  This year we made these beautiful wildflower seed bombs. We started out by ripping, tearing and cutting tissue paper, paper towels and scrap paper for the paper pulp that would dry and become our seed bombs. We used a blender and food color, mixed the seeds in and formed the stars in a cookie cutter. 

The card part of the gift are lovely watercolor paintings of wildflowers.  The final step was gluing the message on their card and writing their name.

In a related activity we looked up each wildflower in our seed mix. We “googled” what their seed looked like and found each seed in our mix. The children used a magnifying glass to see the detail of each seed. This sorting and identifying activity was extremely popular with the class. 

I have to be honest here. I have no experience making seed bombs and I’m really not much of a gardener so if flowers grow from these seed bombs I will be very pleasantly surprised. …