Children of all ages love messy play. I had the joy of bringing wonderful slimy science to my son's fourth grade class today as we made Gak using the same recipe I had used with my preschoolers last month.
Of course, they were much more independent. I wrote the recipe on the white board and they were able to help themselves to the ingredients and mix their slimy potion. We even had an impromptu math lesson about fractions once we learned that the bowls were too small for a full portion of the recipe and we had to cut it in half.
We did some comparing and predicting, discussing differences from the ooblick they had made in science class a few months earlier. But, for the most part, we oohhed and ahhhed over the chemical change, the feeling of the slime in our fingers, the properties of the potion as it hung off the sides of the desks and bounced.
These were children learning through their play in fourth grade. They were predicting, measuring, observing, experimenting and discussing several scientific concepts.
Most of them pulled out a notebook to copy the recipe down to try at home with their families.
My son was so excited to show his slime to his sisters and of course, they had to recreate it with him at home. (They are 13 and 15).
The other piece that I brought to the fourth grade class today, is a literacy idea from NurtureStore about using a story starter to encourage writing I started a story on the class easel and the students added to it as they waited for a turn to get supplies. At the end of the lesson, we had the beginnings of a wonderful collaborative slimy story. They are leaving it up to add more to it next week.
I had a wonderful time playing in fourth grade today. I feel so fortunate that there are such fantastic teachers out there, such as Ms. Fitzgerald, who understand the power of play and its value to learning...even as children get older.