Saturday, January 20, 2018

Organic Chemistry: Sugar II

We began by reviewing Photosynthesis. I read a section of David Mitchell's Chemistry book called "The Great American Forest" by Rutherford Platt (p.140).

The Wonders of Waldorf Chemistry: Notes from a Teacher’s Notebook

Then the children made chocolate chip cookies. This was our analogy for how photosynthesis works... and last week they begged me to let them make actual chocolate chip cookies this week. I agreed but, since it was for Science Club, I made them use a vintage recipe with metric measurements.

While the cookies were baking the group worked on their summaries for their Science Binders, which I am doing instead of main lesson books. I always love to see the variety in student summaries! Some children go for the traditional narrative, with a series of paragraphs, while others spin off into more creative ways of summarizing the content. I myself suggested writing a limerick, and came up with one on the spot to illustrate my point:

    There once was a young plant so green
    The prettiest plant you've ever seen
    It took in carbon dioxide and water
    And when the sun's rays got hotter
    Poof! A molecule of glucose came into being

(Don't judge... it was improvised!)

Becca decided to write hers as a comic strip, and asked me to photograph it and publish it in the blog. Click on any photo to enlarge:

After summaries were done and cookies were tasted, it was time for a wet-on-dry watercolor painting of the Plant in Rainbow Colors. We were inspired by this one. I stretched the dry paper on my melamine painting boards with masking tape. I had a watercolor brush, a jar of fresh rinse water, and a small piece of test paper ready on each board. We shared small ceramic dishes with the concentrated Stockmar watercolor paint in them.

I learned this trick at my six day long Waldorf painting workshop in New York. I just put a popsicle stick scooped dollop of concentrated paint in each dish and let it air dry. When it is time to paint, get your brush wet, loosen some of the paint, check on your test paper to see if it is too strong or too weak, and paint. Clean your brush carefully before you put it in a new color. If you need to mix paints you can do it on your painting directly, or on your test paper, or in a separate jar (but we didn't for this painting).

We used the following colors from the Stockmar Watercolor Paint Basic Assortment: ultramarine blue, Prussian blue, vermillion, carmine red, and golden yellow. We also used the red-violet from the Supplementary Assortment.

Stockmar Watercolor Paint, Supplementary Assortment

If you are curious, the steps in our painting were as follows:

    red-violet (deepest earth)
    ultramarine blue (earth)
    a light vermillion wash (sky)
    Prussian blue (roots, stems, leaves)
    golden yellow (warmth of the sun)
    carmine red (flower buds)

an example of a finished painting

The paintings turned out beautifully and while they were drying we ate some more cookies and I began to read them the next section of David Mitchell's book, called "The History of Sugar." Note: This book is also available for free as a PDF download from the Online Waldorf Library.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

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