More Ice Exploration

Note: I realize that these entries would be better with pictures, but I don’t have a camera to do them right now! I am looking forward to getting a camera soon!

Today was a busy day with my class! I don’t think I have had such a busy day in my classroom in a very long time.

We expanded on our ice exploration today, but I quickly realized that I had already messed up. Since I can’t take them into the kitchen to see the freezer, I talked to each of the parents about showing their children their freezer at home and letting them compare and contrast the temperature inside to that of the refrigerator or even of the room that they were in. Most of the parents seemed pretty receptive to the idea of this little homework assignment, and I know that it will help our next experiments go a lot smoother.

We did make ice today, though, and when I asked the kids what we should put in the ice cube trays and where we should put them to make ice, I got some interesting answers. A lot of the kids were still stuck on color, and suggested that we put paint in the ice cube trays. But most of them remembered how the ice melted into water, and suggested that we use water to make ice. Of course, later in our project I will show them that water isn’t the only substance that we can make ice with! When I asked them where we should put the ice cube trays, they wanted to put one on the science table (because that was where the container was placed with the melting ice yesterday), one in the office (I’m not sure where the inspiration for this came from), and one on the sand table. Of course, I put one in the refrigerator and two in the freezer, so we did have some ice to play with later with tongs! They had a lot of fun with that, plus they were experimenting with the taste of the ice, too!

We have also been doing some things involving color mixing. Today I filled one half of an ice cube tray with water, and put drops of different colors of food coloring (all primary colors) in each section. Then I gave the child (this was a one person activity, but I had three trays going at a time) a medicine dropper and let them mix the colors up however they wanted. They had TOO much fun! But (and I really hate to say this) my kids have had very little opportunities to do water play in the classroom.

We also started a new collage today, our holiday collage. I let the kids cut up holiday cards with scissors (I am not trying to be politically correct – most of the cards were Christmas cards, but some of them were Valentine’s, and there were some Easter cards thrown in there, too) and today they got to glue them onto a big sheet of butcher paper, along with some pom-poms and sequins. It is going to be a gorgeous collage when it is done, but I think that the kids were MUCH more interested in gluing the sequins and pom-poms than the cut-up cards.

My planned Gingerbread Man theme has gone by the wayside with all of this child-directed pandemonium going on, but they are definitely having fun, and I slipped a little gingerbread fun in there with some gingerbread playdough. Here is the recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cloves
  • about 1 cup of water

You can let your creations set out a few days and they should dry hard. I plan on using this recipe to make ornaments this year, but we didn’t do that today. I just made the dough (with a little oil added for pliability) for them to play in today. The oil seemed to take away some of the fragrance of the dough. I wasn’t too crazy about that.

Looking forward to another crazy day tomorrow – it is supposed to be raining, so no outside time!

My First Day Teaching an Emergent Curriculum – Exploring Ice

Today was an exciting day for my class. Not only did our home living receive a makeover (it looks much more realistic now!) but we started our first child-directed project today!

When I arrive at work, the first thing my class does is go outside. I was somewhat hesitant about taking them outside today because it was pretty cold, but I figured that a little outside time was better than none, so we loaded up with containers to collect items for nature-inspired art and out we went.

Plans changed and gelled quickly once we got outside, though. There was ice at the bottom of the slides! We pondered how that ice got there and came up with some hypotheses (unfortunately our camera isn’t working right now, or I would have pictures!). I was hurriedly scribbling all of the comments down for later documentation, too. Some of the comments were great, like “The ice must have fallen from the sky!”

We took the ice inside and put it in a plastic tub. I told the kids that it was going to change, and asked them how they thought it would change. The dominant opinion was that it was going to change colors. They kept watch over the ice for the majority of the morning, convinced that it would turn brown (there was a LOT of dirt on that ice). It wasn’t until after nap time that most of the ice was melted and we got to see that it had turned into water.

Tomorrow we are going to make our own ice, and I am going to show the kids that the water has to get REALLY cold before it will turn into ice. We will leave one ice tray in the classroom, put one in the refrigerator, and one in the freezer.

Oh, this is so fun!