Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Protect our Oceans!

Sigh. I've been anticipating this lesson with mixed emotions. I've been talking to the class about the environmental disaster that has become our oceans and how fish and other wildlife are affected by human behaviour.
Prime example:
"A dead gray whale washed ashore on West Seattle's Arroyo Beach last week. In itself, that is not an inherently unusual occurrence: five to ten gray whales die annually in Puget Sound waters, unable to complete the lengthy migration from the lagoons of Baja California, where they breed, to their summer feeding waters north of Alaska. Indeed, that whale was the fourth discovered in the region in a little over a week.

What was especially interesting about this particular whale, however, was its stomach contents. According to a postmortem examination by Cascadia Research:

The animal had more than 50 gallons of largely undigested stomach contents consisting mostly of algae but also a surprising amount of human debris including more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball." (full article here)

In browsing some of the eco-friendly lesson plans in the dungeon at the school, I found a cool image of a sort of collage, depicting a fish eating garbage. PERFECT! I thought - high interest, relevant, socially-conscious art, that fits with my theme and will be displayed for Earth Day! And thus I began...

I started by making some oily water with the kids, using my favourite shaving-cream marbling technique on finger-paint paper. This they cut out to make the waves.

Then they painted fish *with open mouths!!

Finally, they glued everything on, and did a great collage of words (I thought representing the rhetoric?! and then bits of "garbage"- I tried to get them to focus on plastics).

Love how this worked, and how we used some recycled material to make it!

La pluie de printemps... April Showers...

I have started a water unit with my class and we are looking at the water cycle, water creatures and water states.
Given that we live in the rainiest place EVER, I decided to brighten our days with some rainbows. Such an easy, classic project, I actually left it for my sub the other day, but the kids loved it, and I loved the different textures.
-I used 2- 9x12 paper, cut into an arc (these you glue back to back)
-the middle of the arc got glued on the end to support the cotton ball cloud
-on the other end, a piece of tinfoil was snipped at the end and the lengths curled around a pencil for the rain.
The rainbow:

This second piece was the activity to go with a little Science lesson on water permeability... what fabrics or materials repel water, which ones soak it in.. I found this cute jacket template (actually there were 2 to choose from) they coloured it front and back, then cut it out, and wrapped it in saran-wrap! easy, fun!

Les Lucioles dans la Lumière de la Lune

Moonlit Fireflies!
We also did the moonlit fireflies lesson, originally presented by Marymaking, then also done by smART Class
It tied in very nicely with our space and moon unit in March.
I was impressed at how dry-brushing poster paint onto black paper worked!
That was how we started, using cool colours (blue, purple and green). Then the kids painted a paper plate (the thin kind with the ribbed edge) with pearlescent paint. They had the choice to make a full moon, or a half (quarter, etc) moon. This was perfect tie in, as we've been tracking the moon's phases, and they knew that the moon was always round, just not always completely showing.
They made fireflies out of bits of cardboard, glued bits of gold pipecleaner for the "tail" and googly eyes!

We used silver paint to dot on stars and finished the piece by highlighting the edge of the moon with yellow pastel and drew treetops with green and brown pastels.