November 14

DIY Thanksgiving Cards or Gifts

One of my favorite fall art projects is to print leaves. It’s a simple activity and the result is beautiful! I have used printed leaves to make cards, place mats, gift bags, and wall hangings. I’ve printed on tiles without glaze and on fabric, like muslin. I used acrylic paint below, but match the paint to your project. This project provides an excellent opportunity to study leaves-shapes, veins, edges, and petioles (how the leaf is attached to the branch).

Directions:  Paint the back side of the leaf evenly. The veins are more prominent on this side. Place the leaf on a clean piece of paper and lay the project paper over the leaf, press gently, and slowly rub over the leaf with your fingers. Be careful that the leaf does not move. I usually hold it still by pressing on the petiole with one hand. You can also try an ink pad for this project. Experiment with white paint on black paper for a different look.

Wouldn’t a grandparent love to receive a home-made card with a sweet message inside?

Younger children tend to be more successful with one larger leaf.

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October 21

Previous Post Extension

I especially enjoy connecting science with art. In my previous post, I made a bouquet of fall leaves. Afterwards, I was inspired to collect foliage and create seasonal bouquets. This activity would be fun to do with your family or students. As you collect items, look at the plant parts. Fall is an opportune time to look at seeds, especially in grasses. I only had white chalk, but use colored chalk to design a variety of vases to display your collection. Discuss color and composition. Take photos of your arrangements and create cards or transfer the arrangement to a jar or vase to display inside or outside.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou


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October 9


After all the rain, I discovered a variety of mushrooms or toadstools, during my morning walk. They seem to appear overnight. Why? What do you know about mushrooms? Although they have some characteristics of plants and animals, they don’t belong to either group. Be a mycologist and learn more about these decomposers in the video below.

Click here for the Safeshare link for the following video.

Mushrooms are usually not studied in elementary school, but they would make for an interesting multidisciplinary study. Look for mushrooms with your children when you go grocery shopping and add this healthy fungus to favorite dishes, such as pasta, omelets, and pizza. Hunt for them on a nature walk, but remind your young scientists never to eat wild mushrooms. Click here to order organic mushrooms to grow at home.

Mushroom in the Rain
Mushrooms are fun and simple to draw. Students will enjoy designing their own mushrooms and adding small animals or insects in their compositions.

May 18

Color Mixing

This is always a favorite investigation! The primary colors of pigment (red, yellow, and blue) mix to form the secondary colors (orange, purple, and green), but how do you create the intermediate or tertiary colors? First graders were tasked with using varying amounts of the primary colors to create 24 different colors. Click here for additional information. I used color fizzers which do not stain. How fun to have a job creating crayon or paint colors! After we mixed the colors, we named them. Click here for the color names of Crayola crayons. I witnessed an abundance of collaboration as they asked their classmates how they created the colors in their trays.

April 27


In the second half of both of their labs, prefirst and first grade grade scientists connected math and science as they learned about anaglyphs. We learned that a 2D shape has two dimensions (length and width), while a 3D shape has three dimensions (length, width, and height). We looked at examples of anaglyphs and noticed that red and cyan were added to the photos. When we wore glasses with lenses of the same color, the pictures became 3D. These scientists especially enjoyed watching a 3D movie. Click here to take a ride on a roller coaster. Want to learn more about the art of anaglyphs? Click here.

Have 3D glasses at home? Click here to review shapes.

February 1

Thermometers and Water Cycle

During fourth grade’s weather unit, I demonstrated how to make a “homemade” thermometer with a bottle, straw, clay, and water colored with food coloring. Click here for directions. In the photos below, the water moved in the straw as the temperature changed throughout the day. I also taped a water cycle bag on my window. Fourth graders made these during online instruction. As the water heats up, it changes to water vapor, condenses, and then falls again as precipitation down the side of the bag. Click here for additional directions. (Food coloring is optional.)

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January 20

A Trip through the Forest

After I demonstrated that water (H2o) drops like to stick (bond) together, PreK scientists drew a path through a forest, and slid their finished drawings inside page protectors. They used pipettes to squeeze drops of water onto the page protectors, and then turned the paper to guide the drops along the paths they drew. Focus and use eye-hand coordination was required for success. This was also an interesting way to investigate friction. Tiny drops did not move, but large drops were difficult to control. These young physicists also placed multiple drops of water on their page protectors, and as they moved the paper, they watched the drops merge into a single drop. In addition, they were experimenting with adhesion which is the tendency of water molecules to be attracted, or ”stick”, to other substances. This is a fun activity to do at home!


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January 12

Magnets – First Grade

First grade scientists continued their study of magnets. After we reviewed the materials that magnets attract, we investigated how magnets push (repel) and pull (attract). Magnets have a north pole and a south pole, just like Earth. Like poles repel and opposite poles attract. We used two magnets to feel the force.

As we matched the floating magnets to the photos, we applied our knowledge of attract and repel.

Creativity, problem solving, and fine motor skills were developed when we created magnet sculptures at the end of lab. Click here for more ideas.

Click here to do a fun activity at home with magnets.

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November 18


Do you know that one of every four creatures on Earth is a beetle? PreK biologists learned about the beetle’s body parts and were surprised at the diversity! We drew the three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), six jointed legs, antennae, and wings.


We each had a beetle to investigate and to observe those parts up close.

Click here to listen to this story.

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