Sunday, January 26, 2020

STEAM Sunday: Mix It Up!

When I was a joint MakerSpace teacher + librarian, I loved using books as my jumping off points for MakerSpace lessons. Books are my comfort zone, and reading a book aloud to start a lesson is a great way to introduce a concept and get everyone on topic. These "lessons" don't have to be done for an entire classroom, and don't even have to be done the way I outline them here, but I thought it would be something fun to share.

Herve Tullet makes amazing interactive books that I love reading aloud in storytimes and library classes, and I really enjoyed using Mix It Up! in MakerSpace last year. Color mixing is a great way to kick off art lessons, and if your supplies are limited, it's also a great way to show students they can make their "limited" colors go a lot further!

After experiencing the book together, I got out colored ice cubes. In clear cups, I had students tell me which colors to mix together, and guess which color they would melt together to make. You can also quiz them by asking "What cubes do I need to pick to make orange?"

For individual work, we had three cups of water at each work station, and three empty cups. I put drops of food coloring in each water cup - red, blue, and yellow. Students used eyedroppers to pull colored water and mix it into the empty cups. They had sturdy watercolor paper they could drip water on to make beautiful abstract works of art.

The idea, of course, was for them to make their own hues of orange, purple, and green, but the younger students really enjoyed making their own brand new colors. A way to keep this as a creative learning experience is to have them name their new colors and explain how they made it, as best they could. For example: "I made orablue, by mixing a little bit of red, a little bit of yellow, and even more blue."

I used this lesson for Early Childhood, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary students. There was a bit of a mess with all age groups, but I think there's a good way to use this with younger children and not worry about the mess. For Toddlers, you can put paint in ziploc bags and let them literally mix it up! Put red paint in the right side of the bag, blue paint on the left side, place the bag flat on a table, and let the kids smush the color together! Same with blue and yellow, and red and yellow.

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