Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Make the most of the freezing weather!

We shall be posting a series of blogs of some of the lesson plans and activity ideas from our LOC Handbook. LOC stands for Learning Outside the Classroom. It contains over 100 lesson plans spanning 9 subjects areas.

The tail end of winter is providing overnight frosts this week with temperatures falling to well below freezing. It's a great opportunity to use the cold weather to create ice activities with your children. In this post, and one to follow, we shall be offering lesson plans and activities to use ice in a creative and interesting way. We hope that you find them useful and enjoyable.
Activity Title:
Age Group:
Ice Art
Art and Design
Early Years/KS 1
Overview of the Activity
Using creative techniques to explore freezing and melting water.
Main Activity
Collect a large selection of natural and recycled materials from the outdoors such as pebbles, leaves, twigs, bark, shells, drink cans, plastic containers, etc.
Place a large shallow tray or dish on the ground or a low table where pupils can develop their art installation. Have the pupils arrange the materials on the tray or in the dish. It doesn’t matter if they hang over the side.
Fill the container with water and leave outside overnight on a night when it’s likely to freeze. Before you leave it place the plastic tube in one corner (at least 7 cms from each edge). Once the water has frozen this will create a hole in the ice sheet from which to hang the ‘sculpture’.
Return to the container the next day to see what has happened. Talk about the ice, allow pupils to touch their ‘sculptures’ and describe what it feels like and what the frozen objects inside look like.
The final act is to hang the sculptures from a tree or post outside using rope threaded through the hole that has been created with the plastic tube in the corner. Observe the sculpture during the day, does it melt or stay the same, do bits fall off? Take pictures to be shown to parents and other members of the school.
Talk about how water melts and freezes and think about other ways in which you could use ice to create sculptures.
Encourage the pupils to use different language to describe the textures and visual effects of the sculptures.
Extend the discussion on to where we might find ice and what we might use it for.
Equipment Required
Large shallow trays, jugs of water, selection of natural materials, short lengths of plastic tube
(2-4 cms), string or rope.
Learning Objectives
·         To understand that water freezes in very cold temperatures.
·         To learn about and understand the changing of the seasons.
·         To create textures and develop language to describe them.
·         To work collaboratively in small groups.
Set Up
Spend time discussing the weather in the lead up to the activity and encourage pupils to watch a weather forecast at home and to decide when would be the best time to conduct the activity. Look at the standing water outside in puddles and ponds. Also look at videos and pictures of snow and ice scenes.
Extension Activities
Use a variety of different shaped containers. Add food colouring or paint to the water before freezing.
Encourage pupils to visit the sculptures during the day to estimate how long the freezing/melting takes.
Find ways to catch the melting water and recycle it so it can be re-used.
There are many other ice art sculptures that you can create such as: Using ice cubes to build an igloo for a small animal or fictional character. Try using balloons with water in to create ‘ice baubles’. Try creating ice windows from thin sections of water in the bottom of shallow trays etc. etc.

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