Saturday, 9 April 2016

Ideas Illuminated

Investigations With Light
Part Two

"In the right light, 
at the right time,
everything is extraordinary."
Aaron Rose


The classroom environment was alive with the children's ideas and interest in investigating light. As we responded to their work over several weeks we saw their thinking grow and their knowledge of light beam bright with new questions and discoveries. I am excited to share with you the second half of our light inquiry in this blog post. I hope you enjoy seeing our ideas illuminated!!!!!


Can You See Through It?

This invitation was created after seeing the children's initial work with the flashlights and the coloured bottles which I shared in the previous post. We wanted to extend their thinking and provide for them more time and materials to investigate with.


In response to Jacob's question we investigated the property of transparent and opaque. During inquiry work the children investigated with flashlights and the loose parts tray. We documented their work and then we brought everyone together to share their ideas. 



Jacob began by presenting his question to the class. Then he shared how he used the flashlight to shine light through the bottle. I asked Jacob to share his thinking. He said, "That the light shines through on things like the sun because the light shines in the bottle and comes out the other side because the water is in there." 



Then Jacob demonstrated his work to the children. William began our discussion after Jacob's presentation. He said, "The bottle is clear so it can shine through it. If it is not the light will bounce off." Then Emma L. shared her discovery from her work during inquiry time. She said to the children, "I found out that when you put the flashlight on the wood it doesn't shine through. The clear beads shine through." 





The following photos show the rest of the children's investigations using the flashlights and materials to investigate translucent, transparent and opaque objects. 












Creating With Light







In the art studio a space to create with the loose parts tray was created. I added candles to support the children's interest in light. The materials offered in the tray also reflected a variety of attributes each specifically chosen fro their potential to interact with the light. Ella worked quietly for several days creating transient art with the materials from the tray. Her designs reflected in the mirror and she carefully observed her actions as she worked. Ella made her thinking visible through her creations. We can see that she explored patterning, reflection and light. What can you see by looking closely?

Where Does Light Come From?

The children gathered for inquiry circle to discuss their previous knowledge of light. We asked, "Where does light come from?" We then documented their responses as follows:
Luke - "It come from the trees and leaves."
Jenna - "From God. It comes from the sun and the rainbow and rain."
Keira - "It comes from the sun and candles."
Eden - "It comes from light bulbs and then you can see while you eat."
Preston - "From my house when I eat. I have light bulbs."
Alexander - "You get light from birthday cakes on the top of the candles."
Sophia - "Inside the roof there is light. It is coming from somewhere inside the roof. It goes inside the house. It lights up when you turn the switch on."
Mason - "From a fire pit."
Charlotte - "From sun, my grandma told me because there is sunshine."
Eliana - "Light comes from the sun and the rainbow."
The children demonstrated a good understanding of where they had seen light in their experiences. We would now take this information and extend their thinking with new opportunities to explore the properties of light. Jenna concluded our discussion with a question: "How does the sun glow?"

Flashlight
by Lizi Boyd




We shared with the children the text, "Flashlight." This wordless picture book by Lizi Boyd was an opportunity to explore a literacy connection to our investigations. The children enjoyed reading this text by flashlight too. We turned off the classroom lights and told the story using the flashlight to highlight parts of the beautiful illustrations as we spoke. 

Sharing Our Learning

The children continued to work through their ideas within the classroom environment and we continued to document and record their work. Then it came time to gather the children together and present to them all the information we collected about their investigations back to them. After watching a slideshow I created using the photos of them during play block and inquiry work they took turns speaking. Eden spoke first she said, "We learned about it glowing in the dark bottles." Alexander added, "That the light things go through the glass." Keira shared, "That the flashlight. When I shined the flashlight on my hands I made a shadow. When you put the light bulb in the light it will go on. When you turn the black button on the light makes the shadow come on." She described her investigations at the inquiry table with the flashlight with descriptive details. Then Celina chose to speak, "The flashlight was going down because I was shining it down." Next Sophia added, "It glows at the top of the thing." She was referring to the flashlight. Charlotte spoke about her understanding of sunlight. She said, "The light comes through the window when the light shines it through." Alexander shared, "I learned that when you turn the lights off it makes a puppet shadow." Celina added, "The shadow was coming from the sun." The following day I showed the slideshow to the other group of children. Here are their reflections after viewing their work. Ella said, "I learned that I could show the pom poms through the glasses at the light table." Emma L. shared, "I learned that when me and Jacob were working together light makes colours." Jacob added to the discussion, "That the light shines through the bottle because the water reflects in the colours." Next to speak was Sienna. She replied to Jacob, "Because the bottle was clear." Brandon shared, "When it is dark and you play with the bottles and flashlight it shines through.




Ella documented her work with the flashlight and wooden blocks over several days.

What makes things glow?

The children showed us repeatedly either in their play investigations or by their questions recorded for the question box that they were interested in why things glowed. During an inquiry circle I asked them to share their thoughts about this question. Emma D. said, "There is a special thing inside of a light bulb that when you turn the light on it lights up." Colby added his ideas to the discussion. He said, "There is a tiny black thing that makes it glow up." William shared, "The black thing holds it inside. Then Christopher pointed to the ceiling and said, "Something that lights up is long and round." Next to share was Emma L., "There are two kinds of light bulbs. One that is swirly and one that is like an arch." Then she drew both kinds on the white board. Ella spoke next. She said, "I know that the light goes on from the light switch." Christopher added, "There are cords that have electrocute stuff that goes to the light." Colby then said, "It is wires they are in the wall. It is electricity." "It is from the lightning." said Logan. 





Then I shared the non-fiction text, "All About Light" with this group. After observing the cover Nathan shared, "There is lightning in it."This was a wonderful read aloud to conclude our discussion.

How Does The T.V. Light Up?

Emma L. asked, "How does the T.V. light up?" during gathering time. This question came as an extension from our previous investigations about light and our work with the flashlights. Keira offered this answer, "When you put the remote on. There are batteries in the remote. When you turn it on the batteries kind of light up. It turns the T.V. lights on." Then Emma asked, "How do three bathroom lights turn on at the same time?" William readily shared his thinking about this question. He said, "Cause there is one cord attached to all of them." Emma L. then replied, "So electricity goes down every three cords at the same time and that is how they light up." I was so impressed with the thought process of the children in explaining their answer to this question. They were able to answer each other's questions using reasoning and problem solving based on their real life experiences. Then they began a discussion about light bulbs. The children wanted to draw what they knew about light bulbs and switches. Soon they all had white boards and were proudly showing me their thinking through their drawings. Here is a sample of some of their work.


Lighting Up The Moon

Mason began his sharing bag presentation by showing the children his cut out representation of the moon. Then he used a flashlight to demonstrate how the moon glows. He said, "The moon lights up at night." The children were very interested in Mason's presentation. Emma L. asked, "How does the moon light up?" I suggested she write her question down for the question box. Soon there were several children recording their questions in the writing centre. Miss Virban assisted them in recording their questions and I continued the discussion abut the moon with the rest of the children. 




Questions
Jacob - How does the sun light up?
Sienna - How does the light glow up?
Cassidy - How does a light bulb light up?
Eden - How does the moon and sun light up through the windows?
Ella - How does the stars light up?
Keira - How does the sun light up?
Eliana - How does the light glow in the moon?


Creating  A Place To Wonder


These invitations to investigate and wonder were created as a response to the children's questions about light and their curiosity about how light glows. There were two interests about light with the children. One focused on the sun and moon in the natural world and the other came from their work with the flashlights. This provided a good opportunity to discuss both types of light natural and artificial. We provided the children with a glow in the dark sensory bin and placed prisms, flashlights and several texts about light within the spaces. 


I created a black light area under this table for glowing investigations as well. This was a suggestion from the ever fabulous Joanne Babalis. I have been inspired by her work and following her blog, Instagram and Twitter for several years now. You can find her blog at: www.myclassroomtransformation.blogspot.com . The children greeted these areas with enthusiasm during play block. Next I will share their investigations.


The Light Cave

The children began to call the space with the black light, "The light cave." Emma L. and Ella decided to make a sign for the front of the inquiry table. They taped their signs to the front of the table. The children continued their explorations and I added a tray of light bulbs, clipboards and coloured pencils to the space to support them in recording their observations. 






In the light cave the children created transient art using the glow in the dark loose parts tray. They also discovered that some of their clothing and shoes glowed under the light. They enjoyed working in this space and wondered how the materials were glowing.


I  painted this peg family with glow in the dark paint from Walmart. Adding them to the loose parts tray resulted in lots of storytelling as the children used them in their imaginary play scenarios. 


Look how we glow in the dark under the black light!










Here is a video of Jacob creating with the 
loose parts in the light cave under the black light.



"There Is Light!"

We looked at the text, "All About Light" again. Now that the children had some time with the new materials at our inquiry table I wanted to see if their thinking had been extended. I asked them to share their ideas after looking at the cover. Cassidy said, "The light bulb has something in it." Keira shared, "It's all types of wire and one tiny light bulb to light the light up." Jenna thought, "It's reflection like you turn it on in a room and it lights up with the button." Keira asked Jenna, "How did you know that?" Jenna replied, "Cause there was light bulb in my room and a switch on the wall and I can switch it on." Charlotte added to the conversation. She said, "When you turn the switch the light lights up." 


We provided an opportunity for the children to take a closer look at the various types of light bulbs to support their interest in how light glows. 


Emma L. shared her initial observations readily, " There is a kind of really little cord. When the switch goes on it glows up you can see where you are going. There is a kind of "V" in this. When the "V" goes straight the light goes on." The children recorded their observations using the coloured pencils and paper.



Emma continued to look closely at the light bulbs. 




Emma D. shared, "There is a switch. When you press the switch the cord goes on and the light glows up." She looked closely at the light bulb and noticed, "There are strings inside of this." Emma carefully drew what she saw inside of the light bulb.



William observed the light bulb intently. He drew what he noticed about the light bulb. William recorded the numbers on the top of the light bulb. We then talked about what these numbers might represent.  



Nathan said after looking closely, "Hey, there is metal in here. Metal on the sides and a spring at the top because light bulbs need electricity."


Christopher shared his thinking, "There is light. The light comes from the cord."


Sienna recorded her observations creatively.






Luke visited the inquiry table several times over the course of a week. He would use the magnifying lens to look at the light bulbs. Next he explored the text, "All About Light." Luke would share his observations with us sharing his understanding of light.


I had brought my son's snap circuit set to school for the children to explore at the inquiry table. After allowing them some time to play with the snap circuits I asked him if he would share how he creates with this wonderful toy. The children listened as he shared his experiences with creating circuits. We purchased this set at our local Mastermind store and I highly recommend it if you have a child who in interested in circuits. 

Puddles of Sunlight


After sharing the book, "Oscar and the Moth" the children shared their ideas through a discussion. We asked them if they had any other questions about light. Ryder asked, "How does electricity give the energy to the light?" Emma D. wondered, "How does the sun give other things energy from the light?" Ella asked, "How does a flashlight turn on light?" Colby replied, "There is a button." Then William added, "From a light bulb." Logan also contributed. He said, "From batteries." Emma N. wondered, "How does the sunlight come through the window?" Emma D. added, "How does the sun reflect off glass?" Keegan answered, "The sunlight at a different plant a bright place." Then William said, "It goes through the window because it is glass." Emma L. added, "And translucent you can see through it a little bit." Next Sienna shared, "Light lights up when you put batteries in a toy to light up. The sun is making a shadow on the carpet." All of the children took notice of this and began exploring the patch of sunlight. 


They began to search the room for patches of sunlight that were coming through the slots in the blinds. Christopher asked, "How does the sun light up?" Emma D. told him, "It is a big fire ball."



What Makes It Glow?

The following day I shared the book, "Oscar and the Moth" with the other group of children. Their discussion focused around a variety of questions. I recorded their questions so we could plan extension activities based on their current understanding and wonderings about light. 

Jenna - How does the light glow?
Cassidy - How does fish glow with their lights in them?
Eden - How does the moths glow up at night?
Sophia - How does the earth glow at night time when it spins around?
Celina - How does the light make cats glow from my shirt?
Eden - That New York shirt glows. I don't know how it glows?
Jenna - How does my pants glow in the light cave?
Cassidy - How does my sweater glow in the cave?

I asked this group of children, "What makes light glow?" Alex replied first. He said, "It has fire in it." Then Jenna asked, "How does the sun light up the moon?" Keira answered, "The sun lights up the moon so it glows up by itself when the stars light up." Eden added, "How does the stars light up?" I asked her to share what she thought. Eden shared, "Because the sun makes the moon and stars light up with its power." Next I asked, "How does the sun get its power." Eden replied, "Because the moon and the sun give it to the sun." Then Eliana explained, "The moon glows cause the sun has power in it. It makes the sun glow cause of the power." Miss Virban had explored with the children their interested in how the moon glows and the light of the sun during several gathering circles and activities. 




An invitation to sort a variety of objects into two categories under the black light was created. The children labelled the two bowls: glow and no glow. Then they observerd which ones glowed under the black light and placed them in the appropriate bowl. Then we discussed what these objects might have in common to make them all glow. To help the children understand how a black light works we watch the following You Tube video. 




Drawing With Light

The children looked at several of Pablo Picasso's light drawings. We talking about how he held a light source and a photographer took his picture while he drew in the air with the flashlight. The children were amazed and we named the images in Picasso's drawings after looking at them using the projector. Then we created our own light drawings. We used the art storage room and began by hanging a white sheet to for a background. Then the children used flashlights to create an image with the light. I photographed them by changing the settings on my camera to slow down the shutter speed. The results were fantastic. The children were so excited to see their light drawings. They enthusiastically drew with the light several times. It was fascinating to capture the movement of light. I created a short video of their work which I shared with them during an inquiry circle.



Rainbow Lights


During play block I set out an invitation to work with LED rope lighting, mirrors and rainbow blocks on a white sheet that I had placed on the ground. 


Several of the children began by wrapping themselves in the lights. 


This child discovered that shadows are not always black.



Travis began to build with the rainbow blocks.


Celina used the mirrors to investigate the reflection of the rainbow blocks and the rope lighting.



Building Light City

There were several students who began a project that lasted for two weeks using the materials in this invitation. They began by building with the rainbow blocks around the stretched out rope lighting. Their design used the rope lighting as its base. Then they added Lego construction to their work. When they finished building their play turned to imaginary role play as they explored their ideas around how the police capture bad guys. This play continued and grew each day. We left their work displayed on the carpet honoring their ideas. 







This group redesigned their Light City after the first week. Here is their second design.



I leave you with this final image created on the light panel. When I came in one morning the sunshine was bathing these lovelies in coloured light. For me this was a wonderful discovery as it showed how the children's ideas really did become illuminated by light!!! 

"You are a child of
divine love and 
Light.
Get out there and
Shine!"
Trudy Vesotsky