|Everyone is a nature artist|
We began by having the students comb the fields and yards, looking for colorful nature finds such as nuts, seeds, berries and leaves for elements to hang on their mobiles. It can also include fishing lures (no hooks!), shotgun shells, rocks with fossils or holes, etc. The nature hunt is half the fun.
The classroom session begins with a brief lesson in the mechanics of levers, including fulcrum, load and effort. We use a broom with a sliding rope fulcrum to demonstrate the principles of balance. The goal is for each one of them to create a balanced mobile and learn how to adjust it and add on more elements at home.
|Finished! Click to enlarge|
As they build their mobiles, we ask them about food chain relationships such as "What eats the acorns?" Answer: deer, turkey, weevils, etc. We had lots of honey locust seed pods with holes in them where the honeylocust bean weevil larvae had crawled out. "What eats the larvae?" Answer: spiders, beetles, birds etc. " Is that good or bad?" Answer: it depends on whether you are a tree, a bird or the larva.
The choice of elements is limited only by imagination. Hook-less fishing lures, empty shotgun shells, snail shells and fossil rocks, everything is fair game. Next year we are going to add colorful card elements where they can write the answers above to include on their mobiles, or even a picture or photograph.