I want to introduce my sweet students to the basics; primary colors, media usage, along with material and lab respect. While doing this foundational groundwork, I also want my kiddos to grow a true LOVE of the lab, wanting to create and experience something that might not be occurring in other parts of the school. I work at an AMAZING school; with very creative educators, an awesome technology space that all our students explore, a library that I enjoy hanging out in (and even sneaking a listen to books being read when I have a chance), a music room that is filled with sounds that are inspiring, a science lab with an array of living creatures and outdoor spaces that leave students with minds full of information about their world, and an 'Inspiration Station' that has been designed in a manner that allows every teacher to put this maker's space to great use for a wide range of creations! WOW!! With all these amazing things, I could be left thinking, what is there for me to do? Instead, I consider myself incredibly lucky. All of these resources fill my students, from K3 forward, with confidence and a strong desire to explore in my lab. Students are willing to be challenged by unfamiliar materials or non-traditional use of media.
I love non-traditional applications of media. I think having students see unexpected materials in the art lab keeps them thinking about options when they need to problem solve on their own. Rather than using paint brushes for our first primary color mixing exercise with K3, I decided a hex bug race would be much more fun! Hex bugs are small motorized toys that, when turned on, vibrate and travel in crazy directions. Two students at a time dipped bugs in a primary paint color and we cheered our bugs to the finish line! All the students raced bugs twice. We used two primary colors and got to see the mixture occur during the second race.
In order to prepare for this lesson, I precut poster board in vertical pieces and applied checkerboard duct tape on one end of each sheet. I created an enclosed racetrack using a drawing board and chipboard to create and enclosure that the bugs could not escape. You can see this in the animated gif at the top of the page. I placed our paint in the enclosure to avoid spills. This allowed what could be a very messy activity to stay pretty clean. I will do a few changes next year, such as placing the enclosure on a tabletop (to avoid my littles putting paint hands on their knees) and I have purchased small aprons for my smaller artists to use since this activity, so we will have those on in the future.
This was an action-packed way to introduce color mixing to my youngest students in a twenty minute class, and each student has a pretty cool piece to take home that can be a good conversation with their parents. I declare this event a WIN!