Sunday, January 27, 2013

Problem Solving with Melted Crayons

In a previous post I wrote about our experiment of removing the markers from class following a presentation by an occupational therapist.  This has been going really well and the children never ask for markers.  The OT did mention making sure the crayons are sharpened from time to time, so we made sure to have fat crayon sharpeners available.  My assistant had been really great at remembering to sharpen the crayons and several children became quite interested in the process.  They enjoyed sharpening the crayons.  Once we taught them to save the shavings, we ended up with a nice big collection of colorful shavings.

Then, the question was what to do with them.  At the same time we had been having a little problem with our meeting area.  The Winter sun shines very bright right where the children look at messages, graphs, books, etc. in our meeting area.  We do not have blinds on the windows, so we needed to come up with a way to block the sun a bit.  We had already moved our furniture around to try and angle our easel the other way, and it wasn't enough.

While thinking of a creative way to block some sun, we thought about using our crayon shavings and this is what we came up with...

Fold a piece of black construction paper in half.
Draw two white dots on the folded edge near the sides of the paper.
Have the children make a line from  one dot to the next; wavy, rainbow, zig zag, and then cut it out.

Open the paper to reveal a frame.
Take a sheet of wax paper.
Sprinkle the crayon shavings on one half of the paper.

Fold the other half over the crayon pieces.
Cover with a thin towel and a piece of paper.

Run a hot iron over the towel while counting to 20.

Check on the melting of the crayons.

Re-iron until desired effects are achieved.

Tape the wax paper to the back of the frame.

I had the children put one hand behind their backs to help prevent them from having a hand near the hot iron.  The other hand I placed on the handle and ironed with them.  The ironing part of the activity was done on a one-one basis, so this activity does require more teacher involvement than most of the art we do.  It was fun to make predictions and talk about what we noticed happening to the crayon shavings.  The colors mixed, some wax spilled out, it was warm, and much more.  I always love when science and art blend together so well.

And the bonus was.... this fun process, actually looks stunning AND solved our sun problem.

So sharpen your crayons and give it a try!

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