Monday, 10 December 2012

Colour My World #5: Why is the sky pink?

Light through milky water
Light through clear water

Child initiated inquiry: Why is the sky pink?

When we were playing in the playground one sunny afternoon, Natalya looked up at the sky and asked: "Why is the sky pink?" I told the Water Group about Natalya's question and we researched together. We found an experiment from The Science Book of Color. It shows us how to create a sunset with water, milk, and flashlight which the children eagerly tried it. They exclaimed: "It's orange!" as we shined the light through milky water. We learned that white light from the sun passes through the air. At sunset, only orange and red rays get through the air. Tiny particles of dust or smoke in the air stop all the other colors.

The children concluded the activity by painting their own sunset.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Colour My World #4 - Exploring hues, tints and shades

tints & shades
"Indigo looks like blue," said Aiden. "But it looks purple," said Natalya. This led to our discussion - what is indigo? 

We decided to mix blue and purple together to see if they make indigo. First we need the colour purple. The children mixed blue and red together until they got purple. Then they added more blue. Natalya exclaimed: "It's indigo." Enxin said: " We just need to add more blue." I explained to the children that indigo is a secondary colour and when we mix primary colours together we may get different secondary colours called hues. 

Enxin asked: "How about pink? I can't make pink with the primary colours."
I prepared some white paint and the children tried adding white paint to the primary colours. They observed that when white is added, the colour gets lighter. I let them know that they are making a tint. I asked if they can guess what will happen if black is added to the colours. They all knew the answer - it gets darker (shades)! So knowledgeable! 

hues of orange


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Colour My World #3 - What is colour?

This week we explored one of Enxin's inquiries: How come there is colour? What is colour?

To help the children understand that we see colours through light, we did an experiment. First we sat in the dark and the children immediately noticed that they couldn't see anything. Then I asked the children to grab a piece of fabric from the dark and shone the flashlight on it. They each exclaimed the colour in his/her hands. 

They came to the conclusion that we cannot see anything in the dark (not even colours) and when there is light, we can see. 

I explained to the children that all light rays contain colour. When light shines on an object, only some colours bounce off it. Our eyes detect the colours in the light coming from objects and we see them as that particular colour. 
Sitting in the dark
It's a red scarf!

light beams passing through a triangular prism
It's green!

Making the light spectrum

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Colour My World #2 - Primary and Secondary Colours

Testing the colours
The results 
The Water Group started off their inquiry on colour with the concept change in mind. The children became scientists and tried to figure out how primary colours can make secondary colours. They eagerly tested the colours and recorded their findings. I love the way that the children worked together and voiced their thoughts and questions as they did their experiment. I could hear them say: "Let's see what will happen if I mix red and blue", "How about mixing all the colours (red, blue and yellow) together." and "Hey, I can't make the primary colours."
"I made purple!"

What a group of thinkers!

Painting with primary colours

Painting with secondary colours

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Colour My World #1 - Children's thought on colour

Exploring with colour tiles
Decorating a house with colour cellophane

Below is information on our new unit - Colour My World

Transdisciplinary Theme:  How the World Works
Central Idea:  Colour is all around us and make a difference in our lives
The three concepts that we are focusing on are perspective, function and change.

To let the children experience and start thinking about our central idea and lines of inquiry, activities about colours were set up. Below are comments/questions the children came up with during the activities:

Enxin: What is colour?
Pippa: Colours can change.
Aiden: I like blue.
Natalya: All the colours are in the rainbow.
Peter: I like it because it looks beautiful.
Andrew: Red and yellow makes orange.

Colour mixing

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Circle of Friends #7 - Summative week (Pet rock)

We are nearing the end of our unit and this week all the children met together to give their thoughts on what they have learned about friendship. Wendy read the story Hunwick's Egg and told the children about a long time ago, a company created "pet rock" where people used the rock as something to talk to and take care of. After the story, each child picked out one rock from a pile that they would make into their own pet rock. They painted their rock and as they were painting there were asked to think about whether it is possible to have a rock as a friend and how they are going to treat it.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Circle of Friends #6 - How are we connected with our friends?

Last week, the Water group studied the characters in the book Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley. The children thought it was interesting to see two best friends with such different personalities and interests. They do agree that friends don't always have to like the same things, the two most important things in friendship are caring and helpful.
Then the children paired up and using a venn diagram compared their likes and dislikes with each other. They giggled each time they found a common interest between themselves.  At the end, they commented on how the two are friends and what they would do for/with each other.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Circle of Friends #5 - Giving and Receiving of Friendship

Decorating for the party
Wow, the children sure had a great time doing group time with Lina. They told me all about the tea party they hosted (inpsired by the book Miss Spider's Tea Party). The Water Group children did not want to exclude anyone so they sent invitations to all the children in the other 3 groups. They said it took them many days to prepare for the party. They had to make the invitations, send them out, decorated the room and prepared cakes, fruit and tea. They had tons of fun and were so proud to host a party for their friends.
Getting ready for the party
Practicing to say "Please" and "Thank you"

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Cirlce of Friends #4 - Rules of Friendship

Mixing the dry and wet ingredients
Do you expect your friends to be a certain way?

From reading the Little Red Hen the children felt that friends are expected to share and care and they also made up other rules for friendship:
1) No hurting your friends (Pippa)
2) Don't play tricks on your friends (Cameron)
3) Friends should play with you only if they want to (Natalya)
4) Friends cannot fight (Enxin)
5) Friends can help only if they want to (Aiden)
Putting the dough in the loaf pan

Kneading the dough
The children made bread together just like The Little Red Hen but the changes were that they all helped make the bread and they shared it with everyone.  The Water group children felt the loaf was too much for them to eat and the bread smelled so delicious that they had to share with everyone else.

Here is the recipe for those who are interested!
Punching down the dough

Amish Sweet Bread


  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • Directions

    1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
    2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
    3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
    4. Bread!!
      Sharing the bread
    5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes

Circle of Friends #3 - Expectations in friendship

 One day a child said, "If you don't give me it, you can't be my friend".
Aiden helping Mila with her puppet

The Water group started an inquiry into the expectations of friendship. Are there rules of friendship?

Painting the puppet scene
We read the story The Little Red Hen. The children felt differently on whether the other animals should have helped or not but it was unanimous that the felt Little Red Hen should not share her bread. Below are some of the things they mentioned:

Aiden: The Little Red Hen can ask other friends to help her.
Natalya: It's okay that Little Red Hen didn't share because her friends didn't help.
Enxin: She could share if she wants to but she doesn't have to.

Both Jayla and Mila would share their bread if their friends didn't help make it.

The children had so much fun dramatizing the story that they wanted to make their own puppets for the story!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Circle of Friends #2- Who are Our Friends?

Friends care about each other
When the children wrote their poems, it sparked a discussion within group. Some children feel their mommys and daddys are their friends and some feel they are not. Why aren't parents friends? Who are our friends? Also some children feel that friends need to be present. If they are away or somewhere else they are not their friends.

Pippa, Jayla and Mila said their mommies are their best friends.
Aiden said his mommy and daddy are not friends, they are parents. He added Brandon (his older brother) is his friend. Andrew agreed with Aiden. His best friend is his older brother too.
Natalya said mommy is her friend but her daddy is her brother's friend.

Friends play with each other
I read the book My Friends by Taro Gomi to the children. As I was reading, some children commented that animals, books and teachers can't be friends. It was so interesting to hear the different opinions that the children have on friendship. We checked our thinking by going over the list of what friends do for each other. In the end, the children decided that if the thing, animal, or person plays with them, makes them feel happy, and they love it then it is their friend.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Circles of Friends #1 - How does friendship work?

This week the Water group began to explore the concept - function of friendship.

I asked the children how does friendship work? Most of them had a puzzled look. To help them process this idea, we brainstormed together. Below are some of their thoughts:

Andrew: Friends sing together because it makes them feel good.
Mila: Sometimes friends cry together.
Pippa: Friends swing together.
Natalya: Friends help each other because it's caring.
Peter: Friends play together because they can have fun together.

They agreed that friends sing, play together and help each other. Everyone said they feel happy when they are with their friends but Aiden mentioned that sometimes he gets mad at his friends or his friends get mad at him. To help the children understand this idea, I read the book Matthew and Tilly by Rebecca C. Jones to them. When I finished reading, the group was silent with serious expressions on their faces. Below is our dialogue:

Natalya: They said 'sorry' to each other and they're friends again.
Aiden: Yeah! They were mad then they said sorry and then they're friends again.
Mary: Is it okay for friends to be angry at each other?
Enxin: Yes, it's okay. They just need to be by themselves and then say sorry and play together again.

We expressed our thoughts of a friend through poetry.