Thursday, November 10, 2011

Co-op Science Week 11

This week was our Fall Open House, so we spent much of our class time getting ready for that.  We stapled covers on our booklets of Newton's Laws.  Several of the kids drew pictures on the front of the booklets.  I brought in our catapults from an earlier session, as well as some other stuff we'd worked on -- sort of a random assortment.

(Click to enlarge pictures, if desired.)
I also had the kids decorate a poster proclaiming "3-5 SCIENCE".  They drew several things we did, and several things they apparently wished we had done.  There was great controversy surrounding the fact that the boys made the letter C into a monster; one of the girls drew an alternative non-monster C which I attached to the bottom of the poster.  Overall I thought it was pretty cool.  Annabeth had given me the heads-up that this is how we should do this, by the way -- have the kids make it themselves.
 One of the boys had brought in more magic tricks to share, having forgotten his last week.  And since many of the tricks they've been sharing have been along the lines of sleight-of-hand and fooling the eye, I thought it was a good time to segue into optics and light.

We started with thaumatropes to show the concept of persistence of vision.  My co-teacher brought in a little plastic zoetrope that she'd gotten in a kid's meal somewhere -- it was way cool.  I'd hoped to make our own rendition of zoetropes, but we ran out of time.  Overall the kids were content to color and decorate things -- a very subdued group. I think the time change really took a toll on everyone in spite of supposedly getting more sleep.

The day before class I'd come up with
New Improved Directions for Making Thaumatropes with a Crowd of Kids:

Cut a couple of 3x5  index cards into squares (if you leave them rectangles they're too flappy to work well).
Draw your pictures on the non-lined sides, taking care that the pictures will overlap appropriately.  Outline in Sharpie -- this helps the picture "pop" when you spin it.  Color as desired. (You want to color it now because once you get the straw on it, it will be too lumpy to color.)

Tape a straw to the back of one side.  If it's a bendy straw, make sure the bend isn't going to interfere with spinning the thaumatrope -- I put this bend against the back of the card, but you could also put it at the bottom.  Or just cut it off and have a shorter straw.  Also, if you use colored straws be aware that the kids will have strong opinions about which color they want.
 I used Duck brand tape to tape it to the back of the index cards because it's wide and easy to tear.
Staple the front to back.  Or use Scotch tape, which is what we used when we ran out of staples.
Spin.  Be impressed with the picture that appears.

The kids were incredibly imaginative with their pictures:  head with hat (that didn't quite line up, so the hat was sort of floating over the head, which was actually pretty cool), person in jail cell, pen writing on blank sheet of paper, jet flying through clouds, smiley face eyes with smiley face smile on the back, fish in a fish bowl ....   Some kids made multiple thaumatropes, trying various ideas.  Probably the most amazing was a dog (or maybe wolf) sitting on a moonlit, starlit hill howling -- on the facing card was another dog/wolf on a hill on the opposite side of the "valley", also howling.  I am in awe of this group, and so glad I get to spend some time with them each week.

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