All the snow falls off from the clouds.
Snowflakes are made with some water and snow.
The sky painter who lives up in the sky paints the clouds and snowflakes.
First they are different colours, then she uses her white paint to paint the snow.
Because snow is supposed to be white!
In February, I showed the students a video entitled "Projector Snow" by a creative innovator named Brian Maffitt. This YouTube video sparked a lot of discussion with our students and we decided that we'd post our response within the blog (Click here for the link to this initial post to understand the context for this work). Brian Maffitt very thoughtfully replied to our students comments and questions, which lead to further conversations and an increased interest in the YouTube video clip.
The second time our students watched this video, A.S. said "it looks 3D!" S.F. wondered why there were so many colours, and R.A. continued to question what made Mr. Maffitt think of putting the projector on the window. Then something special happened. A student in our class (J.A) came up to Mrs. Ham and I with her very own visual representation of the "Projector Snow" video. She had taken black construction paper, cut it into a square, stapled a small projector at the bottom, and drew the colourful snow using crayons. So I asked, "J.A. why did you decide to create this today?" "Because I wanted to be part of the snowflake inquiry and make something to show Mr. Maffitt."
As a class we planned to create a visual response to his video and connect our snowflake theories to our own creative representations. This also allowed the educators to integrate the snowflake inquiry with the curious about colours inquiry and turn it into a colour experiment.
Here is how it unfolded:
1. Viewed Brian Maffitt's Flickr Page to view his still shots some of which are photographed below:
2. Re-visited theories about how snowflakes are made and where they come from by drawing, writing, and orally communicating their thinking:
Ms. B: In order to create a masterpiece you need to plan for a masterpiece!
3. Used iPads to view the "Projector Snow" YouTube video clip with a partner and discuss their favourite part of the video. Students were then encouraged to pause the video at the part that intrigued them most, and that they wanted to base their visual representations on:
4. Drew their favourite part (that they paused) using pencil followed by marker:
5. Prepared our materials and followed a procedure that we read to create their visual representation:
Procedure: How to make Projector Snow Works of Art
- cardboard boxes cut into flat canvases
- black finger paint
- food colouring
- white project glue
- tooth brushes
- acrylic paint (various colours)
a) Cover the cardboard canvas with black paint.
b) Look at iPad with your paused favourite part or your plan to make coloured snowflakes with q-tips and acrylic paint.
c) Use toothbrush and dip it into the paint. Flick it onto the cardboard canvas with your fingers.
d) Squirt white project glue designs to look like your favourite part.
e) Cover the white project glue designs with salt.
f) Squeeze a tiny drop of food colouring on the salted glue.
g) Admire your finished work and let it dry!
While G.G. was painting he said "we're doing different colours because of the movie. I want the colours to fall down."
S.F. goes up to G.G. and Ai. Si. and she says to them "Wow boys that looks nice!"
6. Conferenced with each child to reflect upon their process, listen to the story behind their art, discuss their shifts in thinking, and determine a title for their visual representations. Took documentation notes from the conversations to add to our Snowflake Inquiry binder:
Although I would love to share with you the entire conversation from each child, I am mindful that this post is becoming quite long... I have included their latest theories about snowflakes and placed their title choice underneath their painting.
G.G.'s believes that snowflakes "come from the clouds. The water cycle goes into the clouds. They freeze into different shapes and they fall. I wonder where all the clouds are, because I can't see them. Because the snow comes from the clouds."
R.L. thinks that snowflakes come from the clouds. "When it's actually snowing it's actually raining! So it's mostly raining. There are little droplets and as the droplets fall together they form a snowflake."
|Snowy Dots: The Falling Droplets|
S.F. is certain that snowflakes come from the clouds. "They come from the clouds! When they dance something happens! All the snow falls off from the clouds. Snowflakes are made with some water and snow. The sky painter who lives up in the sky paints the clouds and snowflakes. First they are different colours, then she uses her white paint to paint the snow. Because snow is supposed to be white!"
|Kandinsky Snow Drops|
R.J. excitedly shared that snow comes from the "clouds up high! The space when it is far away from our planet, it has weaker gravity. Then the snow will fall and fly everywhere. Even to other planets. That's why I think it comes from the clouds. I think some sort of air comes up to the clouds and it has wet things in it. So the clouds add white food colouring and then it drops down!"
L.N. agrees that snowflakes come from the clouds. "When the clouds, it's a bit cold, they freeze up and then they fall down through the clouds. The snowflakes squeeze together and then the snowflakes fall down from the sky."
L.N. painted the projector Mr. Maffitt projected into the night sky and snowstorm.
H.W. feels strongly that snowflakes come from the sky. "I think they come from the sky. The blue sky! The blue beside the clouds! The clouds make it and give it to the blue sky! The clouds give it, because the blue sky can drop it! The clouds take a piece of their cloud and mush it up." H.W. also thinks that the clouds make snow "so there's snow because Santa wants that! Because the reindeers like the snow. It helps them to fly really fast! The snow, it chases them!" After naming her painting, HW spoke about the sky falling because it is winter. She said that the sky also "falls in Fall from the leaves."
J.A. is sure that snow comes from the clouds. "The snow comes from the clouds and when the clouds they start to move then on a rainy day when the clouds are in the sky and they move again...after the snow falls down it melts the ice away and then it turns into water. Snow is made by big ice inside the clouds. The ice starts to break and it falls down."
|The Snow Land|
An. Si. decides that snowflakes come from clouds "because the clouds have rain in them and becomes snow. They are made out of water! They are even made of ice. The rain freezes and it turns to ice. From the sky. From the water cycle."
I would like to emphasize that we took our time with this work and really marvelled at the power the process has on thinking and learning. The students were determined to complete this task and this taught them a strong lesson in developing persistence. Persistence is a "Habit of Mind" that we have been working towards, and the students are striving to "not give up easily."
It also taught the educators that learning is beautiful if you slow down and really appreciate the process. Finally, provocations provoke curiosity and writing. Having our materials set up and ready for the students, gently invited them to participate, plan, and eventually paint!
Thank you again to Brian Maffitt for his inspiring video and comments to our students. Without his work, none of this would have been possible.