S.T.E.A.M. Room February 2018

LOVE is the answer!  The consensus among the S.T.P. students was that we should celebrate love 365 days a year, not just on February 14th.  We began our STEAM adventure with some fresh air and silly exercise…to love our hearts too…before we settled into our theme on a warm and fuzzy heart filled polar fleece blanket.  All agreed, while feeling the blanket, that love makes us feel warm and fuzzy too!  We sang a love song the Purple Owls were so kind to share and brainstormed the many ways we can show love to each other.  From hugs to kisses and holding hands to helping hands, the responses were many and creative, which was the perfect way to introduce our activity of making homemade paper for love notes.

Using our paper from our class recycling bins we shredded, stirred in water, and got our hands into the wonderful soggy mess of “paper soup.”  Each team added their own bit of colored construction paper (from our recycling bins too!)  to the mix to see if they could create a color tint.  We then blended each groups mixture into an amazing colored pulp “smoothie” before putting our hands back into it to feel the texture, add dried flower petals and flower seeds.  Using a a round splatter screen, the teams then spread their paper pulp into a “pizza” before flattening it with towels to squeeze out the excess water.  The fully dried and beautiful paper was delivered to the classrooms a few days later!

The students also designed a school wide love note displayed in the hallway, reminiscent of Robert Indiana’s LOVE statue in Love Park in Philadelphia.  We studied a handmade poster in its image to guide us in positioning cardboard letters on watercolor paper and sprayed liquified paint, blending colors to create our own LOVE image.  Together we dreamed of visiting the statue and its sister statue, AMOR (love in Spanish, located just across the street), on a fun train adventure to the city with our families!


S.T.E.A.M. Room January 2018

Where do you go when it starts to snow?

This was the question we explored in the STEAM room in January. It launched our investigation into hibernation and the subnivean zone, the secret kingdom under the snow!

Each class added their own cotton snowballs to our winter wall mural…filling the brilliant blue “sky” with soft flakes of snow. We played a hibernation game where each student uncovered an animal, bird, reptile or insect from under our indoor snow blanket and decided whether it hibernated below the snow, adapted for winter or migrated to a new climate. We compared the animals’ behavior and adaptations to our own in winter and how we adjust to the colder temperatures, shorter days and the challenges posed by the arrival of snow and ice!

The Yellow and Red group created whimsical winter wonderland scenes with glittered homemade snow paint (glue, shaving cream and crystal glitter, a favorite) on paper, foil and recycled cardboard for a variety of textures. It resulted in the sparkling sky, reflective snowflakes and birch trunk look-alikes that frame our hibernation mural in the main hallway.
The Purple, Orange, Green and Blue groups experimented with vegetable shortening to determine if an additional layer of blubber or brown fat helps insulate animals bodies and organs in winter when their body temperatures drop close to freezing during periods of hibernation. There was a flurry of excitement when all classes created a snowstorm in a jar with baby oil, white paint dissolved in water and Alka-Seltzer tablets! It was a snow day for sure!

Please stop to enjoy the winter hibernation mural all the classes creatively contributed in making. Ask your hibernation expert to teach you who adapts above, who goes below and who decides to go, go, go when it snows!

S.T.E.A.M. Room December 2017

Full Steam Ahead!

The Blue and Green Group Lenni Lenape searched for native woodland animals in our “indoor forest” outside the S.T.P. steam room. Sitting on furs and carpets around our “campfire,” we brainstormed what we could learn from observing animals around us in nature. We then used our animal instincts to find berries and other found-in-nature items to create a collection of subtle natural paints. (berries, wood ash, mud, spices such as turmeric) We crushed, pulverized, stirred, mixed with flour and water and strained in teams of four to produce beautiful colors. White pine “paint brushes,” bark and sea sponges in hand, we created our native paint masterpiece hanging in the hallway of S.T.P.!

In the spirit of Jan Brett’s wintry classic Animal Santa, the Orange Tigers enjoyed their first steam adventure this December. We dipped our hands deep in bird seed of various sizes to get a feel for how we might be able to construct ornaments to feed our feathered friends,. Adding corn syrup, gelatin and warm water to the seed, we concocted a goopy substance we predicted would harden overnight after we scooped it onto our favorite shaped cookie cutter. The following day we searched for a tree “just right” to hang our edible ornaments for our birds to enjoy from us, their animal Santas!

S.T.E.A.M. Room November 2017

The Blue and Green Pre-K classroom chromatographers “brought the outside in” to explore why leaves change color.

After moving and stretching our bodies like tall, majestic oaks and swirling leaves in the autumn wind, we muddled our favorite color leaves in a mason jar with rubbing alcohol using scissors and nature tools. We folded a coffee filter to place into our jars and made predictions on a blank filter of what we thought might happen after leaving one end of the filter to soak in our leaf liquid overnight. Would we find a pattern? Colors? What would that tell us? Would it be a clue that the trees are “going to sleep” for the winter and making less food?

We wrapped up our first steam adventure with the book “Little Yellow Leaf,” a fall favorite. Ask your chromatographer what appeared on his or her filter!