Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Salt Trays on the Light Table

Like moths to a flame our little ones were drawn to this brilliant math and writing project. You may remember the other day I posted about the perspective taking table that Mark Bachle made for us, well he has just finished the second part of his masterpiece and we now have a huge light table! We are thrilled beyond words to have the extra space so that everyone can participate in light projects at the same time. Anything on the light table is sure to be a big hit with the kids, being able to include everyone at the same time instead of taking turns is pretty awesome.  

The inspiration for our salt tray, magnetic number and number card investigation came from a friend’s post on Facebook. Her daughter seemed to have so much fun imagining a snowy day scene that we decided to give it a whirl on the light table. The kids really enjoyed watching their drawings become illuminated as they worked. Each time they finished a work of art, they used the edge of a number card to smooth out the salt before beginning again. They experimented by pressing numbers in the salt, matching numbers to cards and writing with their fingers.
All of the children seemed to be particularly mesmerized by calming sensation of the salt running through their fingers onto the tray in little white mounds. As they worked we discussed the texture, temperature and movement of the salt. We also learned that salt is made up of tiny balls called “granules” then we compared salt to other white powdery substances that we have worked in the past with like sugar, four and snow. 
Some observations the children discussed and participated in while working:
“Ooo it’s silky!” - Addie 

"A circle goes round and round, I made an oval" - Will

Sam looked for matches between the cards and magnetic numbers. After matching several cards he drew some letters in the salt. 

Logan worked at the light table for a long time. As he worked he focused intently on the movement of his hands through the salt and he joined in on the conversation intermittently. After a while he decided to take a break from his project to work in the building area. He returned every few minutes to run his fingers through the salt, match some numbers to cards or just check out what everyone else was doing.
Addie scooped the salt over her hands over and over again. She watched as it ran through her fingers onto various objects below. She buried her hands, the cards and the magnetic numbers to seemingly facinated by the glowing effect of the light shining through.

Jackson pretended his salt was soap. He filled his hands several times as he went through the motion of washing his hands laughing and singing a song he made up. Later he experimented with hiding the cards under the salt as he watched some of the other children do.

Carmen worked with the salt for several minutes deliberately drawing lines in it with one finger as if she were writing. When she was finished she pointed to her drawing, stepped back, smiled proudly and announced it was her mommy. 

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