My little students have been showing some responsibility with using materials as well as taking care of them, so I thought I would try something that I know they would find super exciting. A book, a black light, a chameleon, and some fun glow in the dark/black light reactive activities for the win! We started out by reading the story Neon Leon by Jane Clarke. This is such a fun story about a chameleon trying to fit in despite being so bright. The students were fascinated by the black light ("but Mrs. Wood, why is the black light purple?") and how their clothes changed color when they were by the light.
After reading the story, the first thing we did was a little scavenger hunt. I gave each student a chameleon card and asked them to walk around the room holding their chameleon up to different things in the room. Our chameleons blended in to everything! To make the chameleon for students to explore their surroundings with, I found an image of a chameleon on The Noun Project (my go-to for simple images!). I then made a template using Cricut Design Space to cut out the rectangles and chameleons. With a quick lamination and cut, they were ready to go!
After our little scavenger hunt, student made a necklace that had neon beads as well as UV reactive beads. These beads were just like chameleons - they change based on the lighting around them! This was a great fine motor activity for the students and they had something to walk away with to share with their parents at home.
As I am still learning about this group of young students, I am trying to incorporate some free play time at the end of all of our activities. This allows them to use the materials we had as part of our lesson in a way that is meaningful and creative in their own way. This also gives them opportunities to communicate and collaborate together to build new things. For the free play time this week, I wanted to introduce some resources that interact with the black light. The kiddos had a blast!
These blocks are not the traditional wooden SumBlox. I have some and students really like them, but often are frustrated with the number 4 in particular. I looked on Thingiverse and actually found some Stacking Numbers, resized them so they are a bit larger (for the little hands and big thinkers!) and could work interchangeably (for the most part) with the wooden numbers. I love how these numbers help students make visual connections between numbers! These can be downloaded from Thingiverse if you would like to print your own!
Last week I used the Magnet Tiles with this group of students and to say they enjoyed them would be an understatement. I only have a small set of the glow in the dark Magnet Tiles, but know what a hit they are for students (especially under the lights) makes me want to get a few more sets so more students can experience them.
I have seen the amazing wooden Flockmen before and love the open-ended play that they provide. I do not have any of the wooden ones, but found the dimensions on their website, so I 3D printed some. I opted to print them in glow in the dark or neon filament so that they can be used in regular classroom lighting as well as Glow Days. Are they perfect? No. Did the students love them? Yes! These can be downloaded from Thingiverse if you would like to print your own!
The weather where I am at has been so up and down lately - it could be BLAZING HOT AND HUMID, POURING RAIN, or COMFORTABLY COOL. After starting the week with two days of blazing heat, we finally got a break and had a comfortably cool day. So, you know I would totally try to take advantage of the weather to do a STEAM activity outside (well, in this case, partially outside).
I had seen these UV beads before and wondered about how I might want to use them with students beyond just building some amazing pipe cleaner jewelry. I did some Pinterest-surfing and found this activity from Buggy and Buddy and knew it was perfect for my 4th grade friends! All I needed was the beads and Amazon Prime provided quickly for that.
We started out our activity in the classroom (to contain the potential mess). This took longer than I anticipated (a bit more than a half hour), but the kids were totally into making their animals. All I told them to do was make a small animal out of pipe cleaners and the beads. I showed them an example I made (surprisingly, a sloth) for a size reference. When I showed the beads, I told them they were all the same color, so it didn't matter what other groups had in their containers.
After we called time on building the animals, I broke the news to them that I actually lied about all the beads being the same color. The shock on their faces was pretty epic (not sure if it was confusion because they "knew" the beads were the same color or because I admittedly told them I lied to them). Then I explained the magic of the beads in that they were actually UV beads and when they went outside, they would actually change color if exposed to the sun's UV rays. The shock quickly turned to excitement with this!
We then explained the second part of the activity - they would have build shade shelters with the nature around them to protect the animals they just created from the sun's UV rays. I wish we had more time than we did for this part because the kiddos just going going with building their shelters and there was some AMAZING conversation! They were talking about how to construct their shelters, what materials to use, how to reinforce to hold it, how to maximize the leaves for shade coverage - the list could go on and on! The students struck the jackpot as earlier our grounds people had trimmed down many overgrown branches. No sooner than we turned around to make sure kids were doing what they needed to be doing, we saw multiple kids with huge smiles on their faces with HUGE tree branches. Well, we didn't anticipate that one! What they came up with though was great and they were so bummed when we had to break them down as recess was starting for other students.
As I was watching students work on their shelters, I noticed my sloth was changing colors and the excitement from the kids would tell you that their animals were changing as well. On the website, they showed the picture below on the left for how the beads reacted in different lighting. On the right are my pictures in the same lighting. Not too bad! The glow in the dark wasn't as dark and the sunny days wasn't as bright, but definitely different enough!
Today I worked with my 4th grade friends to make binary ornaments. I was inspired by Schooling a Monkey and Little Bins for Little Hands and their awesome ornament ideas. I liked how the wreath and stars offered the opportunity to spell things out, but I also wanted them to use their creativity a little bit more and think about how they could manipulate the pipe cleaners into a recognizable (holiday) shape. I tried it myself to show them one example (Rudolph and his pack on his back), and the manipulating the pipe cleaners really was the challenging part!
We had the students make their pipe cleaner ornament and then figure out how they would add their binary word or letter to it. They did great and were excited to show off their designs and have us guess what their letter was! For this Quickfire, we only allowed them to use the provided pipe cleaners, beads, the ASCII Binary Alphabet sheet from Little Bins for Little Hands, and scissors - no tape or glue.
The teacher I was working with got in on the design action too with a pretty cool snowflake design! Any guesses on what it spells? Hint, start with the light pink tip and work clockwise.
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