Saturday, July 5, 2014

Spring Science + Art Projects for K-2

At the end of the school year, I was packing up the classroom like everyone else, except I had to pack for a cart next year.  With so many materials to put away, I was brainstorming on what project I could make with the primary grades with minimal materials, exciting for the students, and tied into their curriculum.  I decided upon two projects that could adapt for grades K-2, integrating science and literature, with a Spring theme.

Kindergarten Grouchy Ladybugs
Inspired by the story "The Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle

Kindergarten students are very familiar with the work of Eric Carle, especially since I like to create lessons inspired by many of his books.  For this project, I only used white paper, pencils, crayons, and tempura cakes (with paintbrushes and water, of course).

We started by reading the book together, then identifying the many insects and animals the ladybug encountered throughout the book.  We also talked about where the ladybug lived and what insects would live in the same patch of grass and leaves.  I demonstrated to the students how to draw the grass, some of the insects, the ladybug, and left the other animals to the kids' imaginations.  Some students chose to work with just ladybugs, while others added different insects to their pictures.  Once the students were done drawing, the colored with crayon and painted with the tempura.  Easy clean up!

1st Grade Insects Studies
Exploring insects in nature

Did you know that if you googled "bugs in a jar," you'll get more art project images that pictures of jars?  This is one popular project with students because they not only love drawing the insects, but their studying the insects in nature.  Through art, they're also learning science by identifying the parts of the insect, what they eat, and where they live.  Having the tempura cakes out from kindergarten made it easy to share materials between grade levels.  To prepare the project, I created a packet with pictures of insects for the students to draw from.

The additional materials are:

-10.5" x 16" white paper trimmed into a jar
-black markers
-colored paper scraps for lids
-hole puncher
-tempura paint
-paintbrushes and water
-12" x 18" colored paper

We discussed together what insects we have in our own backyards and how we safely collect them.  Students like to take the time to identify the parts of the insect and what shapes are used to draw them.  Students had to draw at least 7 insects to fill their jar, watching their space and size of the insects.  Once drawn, they traced with black marker and painted in with tempura paint.  For finishing ouches, students glued their jars to colored paper, trimmed a lid, and punched holes in the lid before gluing down.

2nd Grade Insect Studies
The 2nd grade students were also introduced to the same project, but they were given a few extra responsibilities.  First, they were shown how to cut the jar shape themselves.  The 2nd grade students had previous knowledge of creating symmetrical designs with paper folding, so the task should not have been daunting.  The students also had to cut out their lids themselves to fit the top.

I don't always use one project for different grade levels, but since this one was introduced this past school year, the project will only be used for first grade in the future (so the next batch of 2nd graders will not have to do the project twice).

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