Our school is a very special place. Nestled in a beautiful rural setting within a large suburban school district, our elementary school is a hidden gem! Our diverse population of learners arrives to school each day ready to tackle challenges and build a culture of hard work, respect, and kindness.
Each and every student visits me in the art room, and it is my privilege to learn beside them as they make discoveries, build relationships, and achieve beautiful outcomes with their work.
As a related arts specialist, it is so rewarding to meet students starting as kindergartners and witness the progression and growth achieved by the end of fourth grade. Amazing things happen during those 5 years, and each school year we have the pleasure of sending a new group of outstanding young people out into the larger world. This is where leaders get their start, where excellence begins.
A famous quote credited to Ben Franklin states: "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn". This statement gets to the heart of inquiry based learning. It is in this spirit that I propose "The Color Lab" for our young artists.
Inquiry based experiments with tempera sticks, watercolor paint, paper-making, and clay mixing will provide students a personal experience with color theory to which no textbook, video, or lecture could dare compare.
I plan to organize this unit of inquiry based learning into sessions that students will move through. First, students will utilize Kwik Stix tempera sticks in primary colors to create new colors. Students can make predictions about what colors will result with different combinations.
Next, Students will complete similar steps with the large pan watercolor paints. The differences in the two painting media will provide lots of opportunity for discussion on which mixes more easily, gives more vivid colors, and what uses each would be best suited for.
There will also be a station for tearing up Tru Ray sulphite construction paper in the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. Once we have plenty of pieces, we can begin mixing our first batches of new secondary colors (orange, purple, green) in the blenders. The paper pulp in the new hue will be pressed between layers of plastic canvas and dried.
Finally, each student will create a color-wheel-themed necklace of beads, hand made in Model Magic. Secondary colors will be custom mixed, and the colors will be placed on a flexible wire to create a necklace.
Each of these unique sensory experiences will provide students authentic opportunities to build understanding in art that will continue to help them for years to come!
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