Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some New Ideas for Land and Water Forms

This summer at our annual biome camp for elementary students, I had a chance to get back into the classroom for a couple of weeks.  I chose to focus on what happens when land and water meet.  Our studies culminated with the island in a kiddie pool above. But first...

I wanted each child to experience subtracting the piece of clay from the middle of the land and placing it on a blank dish to make their own lake and island when they added the water.

Potter's clay was inexpensive and easy to manipulate.  However, the clay dried and shrunk on the paper plates we put it on.  I am sure that even the most nostalgic parent tossed the product that came home.  Next time, I will use ceramic plates and let the children wash them as part of the process.  It is all about the experience not the product.
Then, we took it to a more abstract representation by drawing our land and waterforms on watercolor paper and painting the water with blue watercolor.  The land was made by painting with watered down glue and sprinkling sand on it.  The result was lovely and worthy of a frame.

We repeated the two steps with the gulf/peninsula, cape/bay, and isthum/strait.  As a final event, we created the island above.  I did it with a small group of seven students.  It would be difficult with a larger group unless you had a bigger pool and more clay.  The first task was to flatten the big block of clay I put in the center.  As I turned around looking for the right tool for the job, the children solved our problem with their feet.  It was quite effective.

Then, we molded it and created the land and water forms we had learned about.  I love it when the nomenclature is used in context of a project.  "I'll make a peninsula over here."  They wanted a volcano since we had read about how volcanoes can create islands in the ocean.  

We sprinkled sand on the beach and brought in moss for the vegetation.  The final step was to add blue food coloring to the water and stand back to admire it!
We followed up the lessons with the Landform Mat and The Imaginary Island Puzzle from Mandala.  We also collaborated to make a big island with brown paper on a large blue sheet of paper.  It became 3D with paper boats, bridges and docks.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this!

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