This week when the students walked in they found a note from Lightning. He told the students that he left them a box some books and a song. He wanted the students to infer what he wanted them to make with the box based on what they learned from the song and the stories. After listening to the song and stories, the students figured out that we would be making a Dragon for Lunar New Year. We learned that in Chinese culture dragons are a symbol for a river and rain spirit. On New Years Day fireworks are set off to wake up the dragon so that this spirit may bring on the rain and the Spring.
Before we started creating our dragon, we reviewed our 3D shapes and looked to see if we had any of these shapes that we could incorporate into our dragon's head around the class. The students uncovered that we had cylinders (toilet paper rolls), styrofoam spheres and a square-based prism (cracker box) that we could add to the creating. We explored measurement as we followed a recipe to make papier mache paste.
As we continued our research into the customs of Lunar New Year, we learned that on this occasion, families give each other red envelopes that contain money. We learned that by giving the money to children, elders are hoping to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings. Another version is given by the younger generation to their elders as a blessing of longevity and a show of gratitude. Students used red envelopes to match coins to the corresponding number on the front. They also put two envelopes together to add the money together.
Students explored Lunar New Year using their senses as well. We made playdough as a class on Tuesday and experimented with putting it in different Chinese moulds. To help build their fine motor skills while exploring symbols from Lunar New year, students were given the opportunity to use chopsticks.
Jane also taught the students the symbols for the animals in the lunar calendar. Students were shown how to make these Chinese symbols using brush painting. This magic paper let the students paint on it with water over and over again as when it dried it was a clear canvas again!