Monday, July 27, 2015

How to Eat Fried Worms

We began this program by reading aloud the first chapter of How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell.

Next we showed the worm montage from the movie version, which can be found in the special feature section.  This is a hilarious montage of scenes of Billy eating worms in different ways.  The kids loved it and is has a wonderful gross-out factor.

Afterwards, the kids could choose from the following stations.

Craft: Beaded Worms

The kids folded their pipe cleaner in half, threaded beads onto the pipe cleaner, and ended with a larger wooden yellow bead.  They left enough of the pipe cleaner to make antennae.  With the sharpies, they added eyes and a mouth.

Science Activity/Craft: Worm Composting Bins
Composting station.  Rocks, sand, food and leaf scraps, soil, and worms

Dropping in her worm.

Adding soil
The kids began by adding a few rocks to the bottom of their prepared water bottle (lid cut off, duct tape around cut area to prevent cuts), a small layer of soil, a tablespoon of sand, some organic matter, a worm, more soil.  After their worm home was completed, they covered it with a piece of card stock, as worms prefer dark environments.  The card stock could be removed periodically to view the worm tunnels and see how the worm was doing.

This was super fun, although time consuming.  Many of them had fun choosing their worm and placing it inside its new home.  A few were a little squeamish, so we added the worm for them.

Craft: Worm Painting

The kids dipped yarn in paint and drizzled it on a piece of paper.  This turned out to be extremely messy, so we only had it available for the first session.

Attendance: 29, 12
Evaluation:  This was a lot of fun and the kids were fascinated by the worm houses.  While messy and time consuming, it was fun teaching them about the worms and how to care for them.  

Realm of the Renaissance

To introduce the subject, we began with a short video depicting the fresco technique used by Michaelangelo.  We had hoped to demonstrate how he made his colors, but didn't have all the necessary resources (pigments, egg yolks) or the time.

Video: Michaelangelo Fresco Technique

Craft: Fresco
Before the kids arrived we prepared Plaster of Paris surfaces for them to use.  This was time consuming and used up an entire container of Plaster of Paris.  We poured the plaster into small, square plates that had a defined edge.  We selected two different medallions for them to trace and then they used tempera paint to decorate their fresco.
Tracing the medallion
Defining the lines using pencil

Painting with tempera

Craft: Printing
At this station kids could use letter stamps and create a document similar to that done by a printing press.  They could also use the calligraphy pages to hand letter the same words, thereby comparing the two styles.  Most kids preferred the stamping!

Craft: Weapons of the Renaissance: Make Your Own Cannon
This craft came from:  It is an easy craft, requiring water bottles, corks, paper towels, baking soda and vinegar.

First the kids taped small dowel rods to their bottles and added cardboard wheels.  Then, they inserted their gunpowder (a tablespoon of baking powder wrapped up in a small piece of paper towel) followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar.  The cannon ball (cork) was inserted into the bottle.  The kids gently swirled the vinegar in the bottle, placed the cannon on the floor pointing away from all kids and waited.

Unfortunately this AWESOME craft, was an epic fail!  It sounded so simple and when we tested one out worked so well.  However, it needs corks that did not have the corkscrew go all the way through.  If there were any corkscrew holes, the pressure couldn't build up enough to pop the cork out.  Also, many of the corks didn't fit snuggly into the bottles (they were way too loose), even though it did in our sample.  If you can find enough working parts, this would be an awesome and super fun addition to any STEAM program.  
Taping on the wheels

Testing the cannons

Patiently awaiting the cannons to fire.

Craft: Sistene Chapel Art
This was a huge hit with many of the kids.  We had a few boxes placed on their sides.  The kids could tape a piece of paper to the top, lay down on the floor and draw just like Michaelangelo did when he painted the Sistene Chapel.

Attendance: 29, 11
Evaluation: Overall this was a super fun program.  The frescos all turned out well and was something many of the kids had never done before, so it had a wow factor.  The cannons, although a failure, were still fun and when they worked, thrilled the kids.  They all went home and kept trying to make them work.  I definitely want to make them again, but will test every cork beforehand to make sure they will fit in the bottles and don't have holes in the ends that release the gas prematurely.