Kids-Niche Feature: Huckleberry Kindergarten Class

Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids-Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Huckleberries Make Sustainable Art

What happens to plastic disks when we heat them up in the oven? What is the "magic" behind Shrinky Dinks? The Huckleberries explored the answers to these questions while learning about upcycling and creating a project for our school's upcoming Sustainable Art Show. When pieces of clear plastic are cut into disks, colored with sharpie markers, and snipped around the edges, they transform into beautiful flowers when placed in the oven. Depending on the type of plastic, it will soften and the petals will curl in various directions. Some of the clear plastic even turned white in the oven! Once the flowers have cooled, the plastic hardens and retains its curled shape. We are hoping to put these flowers together into a wreath for the art show.

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In addition to our art show project, the Huckleberries also colored pictures onto Shrinky Dink sheets and watched them magically shrink in the oven. They were thrilled to see how tiny their pictures became and how the once flexible plastic sheet thickened into a hard rectangle. Both the flowers and the Shrinky Dinks operate on the same scientific basis. When the plastic is hard, the polymer chains in it are lined up in an orderly fashion. When the plastic is heated, those chains move into disarray until they are cooled down again. However, the Huckleberries would still like to say that the shrinking and curling is due to "magic". 

Check out our class' finished flower wreath at the Sustainability Art Show on May 3rd!

Learning Objectives:

  • Practice sustainability through upcycling plastic into artwork.

  • Explore the science of changing the array of plastic polymers.

  • Use creative processes to create a community art project.

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