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Monday, February 25, 2013

An Invitation to Make Paint

For several months now we have been exploring color mixing.
I think it has officially become our school "project."  I am inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, and one of the things that this approach to Early Childhood emphasizes is project work.  This is a broad concept, but one of the key components that I understand is that it is something that the children have a deep interest in, and that the teacher facilitates their learning by giving many provocations in which they can explore the topic from different perspectives and modalities of learning.  It is through this exploration and experimentation that children learn to love research and discovery because they are the initiators in the process.  To view previous posts on our Color Mixing Project, look it up in the Projects and Fun column.

With the hope to continue with our color mixing project, today the children were offer  a provocation to mix their own paints from scratch.
Each child received a tray with three empty clear jars with a stir stick in them, a small cup of cornstarch, a cup of water, a container each of the three primary colors in powdered tempera paint, a spoon and a pipette for their water and mixing.
Many of the kids watched as I set up the project, and some lent a helping hand, their excitement to start was hard for them to contain, always a good sign!

After a brief talk about using the cornstarch to thicken their paint and water to help mix it all together, they were off and creating.

One of the things to keep in mind when the children do this project is that when they get a color they love, cap it and have them name it, because they will keep mixing and the colors inevitably all come out brown.  However this is also part of the learning process, so I tried to cap two of their colors before they over mixed, but watched them as they mixed all the colors and the rest of their materials and waited till I heard names like "brown-a licious", "brown-brown," and "mud" and knew they were reaching the final stages of their experiments because all their materials were used up.

Here are the names I documented on their jars:
E.P.B.- "Pink-a-licious, Purple-licious, Mud."
H.S.-"Henry-licious, Yellowish, Brown-a-licious."
E.P.H.-"Redish-Pink, Feather Green, Little Green."
K.S.-"Cherry Jam, Purple!, and Purple!"
E.M.-"Blueberry, Cherry, Brown-a-licious (a popular color)"
J.D.-"Purple, Brown-Brown, and White (she took the simple approach, and the white was green, I love it)"
M.N.- "Feather Green, Fatter Green, Potter Green." ( He liked his greens!)

They of course painted with their paints afterwards.  More to come...

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