EducationWorld is pleased to present this article contributed by Lila Daniels. She has taught high school art and worked in higher education publishing. Daniels contributes to several Web sites, including TeacherPortal.com.
When spring is in the air, thoughts turn to April showers, green grass and flowers blooming in the sun. Here are a few crafts to help you celebrate the season and turn those soggy April afternoons into opportunities for creativity.
Also, don't miss EducationWorld's Celebrate Spring: Lesson Ideas.
Teachers are always looking for ways to hook girls on STEM—science, technology, engineering and math. One way to address the gender gap in STEM education is to find projects that appeal to young girls and make science accessible, acceptable and fun.
Here's a craft that offers a great tie-in to the science of plants and how they grow. For an added bonus, combine the lesson with a trip to a farm. Once your seeds have grown, they make an excellent Mother’s Day gift.
Give each student a terra-cotta pot to decorate with paint or paint pens. Let the pots dry completely, at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
Fill each pot two-thirds full with potting soil. Have your students poke a finger in the soil to make a hole. Put in seeds and cover gently with soil. Water, put in a sunny window and watch them grow.
Your students can start seed journals. They can write predictions about their seeds, then make observations and drawings as the seeds grow into plants.
A sweet and quick craft that turns old, glass jam jars into the perfect gift.
The jam jars can be all different shapes and sizes. Have each student pick out a jar to decorate with paint. (Acrylic works best.) Dry for at least one hour. Once the paint is dried, take craft wire and wrap around the neck of the jar tightly, making a loop or a handle for hanging the vase. If desired, tie a ribbon around the neck of the jar to cover the wire. Secure with glue.
Now, fill it with water and spring flowers!
You don’t have to wait for Earth Day to incorporate environmental education into your classroom. Here’s a recycling craft that naturally lends itself to eco-learning. Make these fun feeders with your class and create a whole unit around birds.
Cut an opening out of one side of your milk carton—it doesn't have to be a circle or a square. You can let students get creative, but make sure there are at least three inches left from the bottom of the carton. Paint and decorate the outside of the carton. Let your students have fun with glitter, foam shapes or whatever you have on hand. Let it dry overnight.
Poke two holes through the top of the carton for the string or craft wire. Tie the string or wire securely. Make a small slit about an inch below the opening on the front. Put glue on one end of a Popsicle stick, top and bottom. Push the stick into the slit. Let the glue set at least one hour.
Take your feeders outside to fill. Black oil sunflower seeds are the best for attracting birds. Hang your bird feeders up where they can be seen from a classroom window and potentially around the school grounds as well. You could also use a variety of seeds as part of your birding “experiment.”
Have your students make observations and predictions about the birds that visit the feeders. Some questions to ask:
Extension activities include a lesson on bird song—teaching about the “dawn chorus” and why, how and when birds communicate. You can also have your students choose a bird to research, learning what it eats, where it lives, what kind of nest it builds and if it migrates.
* Tip: To clean out milk cartons, fill halfway with warm, soapy water. Put on the cap and shake vigorously. Fully rinse out.
This craft is perfect for younger students and makes a really sweet gift for Mother’s Day.
Plaster of Paris can be found at craft stores or online. Follow the instructions on the package for mixing up the plaster. Fill bowls about 1 to 1.5 inches high. Smooth out the top using your craft stick or spatula. Have each student press his/her hand into the plaster to make a print. Students should immediately rinse the plaster off their hands.
Use the straws to poke a hole at the top of the mold. You will later string ribbon through that hole for hanging. Let the molds dry overnight. Don’t forget to write each student’s name on the side of the plates. Those little hands all look alike!
Once dried, take the molds out of the plates. Have students decorate their molds—painting or gluing on gems, yarn, craft feathers or whatever you wish.
Copyright © 2014 Education World