It may not jump right out and grab you as such, but this was my 1st grade Kansas Day lesson! We learned that Kansas is the nation's leading producer of helium. In the book we read, there were paintings of beautiful passenger balloons, which were the inspiration.
I had the project all planned out thinking of them as "hot air balloons"... until I realized that hot air balloons float because of the heat, not because of helium. I double checked the pictures in the book, and after doing a little research, found that helium is still sometimes used in passenger balloons, just like hot air. When introducing the lesson, we talked about what makes balloons float. Some of the 1st graders knew that helium makes party balloons float, but none of them could guess that helium comes out of the ground. (Here's an interesting article about helium) I showed pictures of hot air balloons, because as far as I can tell passenger balloons pretty much look the same, and we discussed how both hot air and helium float because they are lighter than regular air.
The rest of the first class period was spent painting the sky for the background. I don't know about your students, but mine are always asking me how to make a sunset. We reviewed warm colors on the color wheel, then I introduced the concept of
Analogous colors are "neighbors". I told the students that colors close to each other on the color wheel blend well together. Each table had yellow, orange, red, and purple paint. We applied the paint on 9x12 inch paper in that order. I did have the students follow along with me on this part to make sure they got their colors in the right order. Not because I wanted little clones, because I wanted them to see how the colors blended and understand analogous. Since we started with yellow, the lightest color of the day, I just asked the students to try to use all the paint on their brush before moving on to the next color. They didn't need to rinse until before they applied purple. After purple, the brushes were rinsed again so they could go back and dab on clouds with yellow paint.
In the 2nd class period, the students "painted" with tissue paper on a 6x9 inch piece of paper. I tested brushing water over the bleeding tissue paper then removing it, but I prefer the more saturated colors from sealing the tissue pieces to the paper with watered down glue. I let the students use whatever tissue colors they wanted, but we did talk about how warm colors would blend in more and cool colors would stand out from the background. I had cut stacks of tissue paper into 1 inch (ish) squares and separated them into tubs by warm and cool. This took quite a bit of upkeep as by the end of almost every one of my 7 first grade classes, the extras were all thrown together instead of kept separate. I got some early finishers to help sort the colors again but it was still kind of a big mess. The only bad part about cutting the tissue with the paper cutter like I did, is that the layers tend to stick together. It is really important to only apply one layer at a time in order to get a good seal and a smooth surface on the paper.
Look below for more examples or check out our Artsonia gallery!
|This student mixed warm and cool.|
|Cool colors really make this balloon stand out!|
|A couple classes had to use oil pastels instead of tissue paper to finish in 2 classes instead of 3.|
|Warm colors make this balloon blend in more.|
|I'm really working with this student on taking his time. He gets really excited and could complete any project in about 2 minutes if his Para and I weren't trying to slow him down. I do love the energy in his brush strokes here.|