Pretty sophisticated for preschool, huh?  Last Friday, the crew and I went for a walk to the park, and noticed some ice at the bottom of the slide.  It had rained the night before, and (being that it’s November in Iowa) with the cold temperatures, that water had turned to ice.  That process is clear to me, but I was curious about the line of reasoning that my walking buddies would use to explain ice on the slide.  So, I asked.  How do you suppose ICE ended up on the slide???

I was surprised to hear that while they had very good ideas and very logical conclusions about how ice might have ended up on the slide, none of them connected the rain on the previous night to the ice that was sitting on the bottom of the slide.  One child surmised that the ice had fallen from the sky.  Another guessed that someone brought it during the night.  Still another child suspected an animal.  I wondered out loud about the rain we’d had the previous day — seeing if calling up that memory would connect it for any of the children.  Nope.

With winter around the corner, what better theme to delve into than exploring matter in different phases?  And, what better way to start that exploration than with melting crayons with a blow dryer???   I first got this idea from Teacher Tom (a fantastic preschool blog: http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/search?q=melting+crayons) and I have filed it away just waiting to use it when the time was right.  We continued our discussion of how the ice ended up on the slide and decided to see what would happen if we used a blow dryer to heat up some crayons.  (A bit of a jump, but fun nonetheless!)  We plan to continue our exploration with more ice/water/steam explorations in the coming weeks.

I was completely amazed at how much fine motor and gross motor skills it took to hold the blow dryer in exactly the right spot.  It took patience to get the crayons heated up enough to where they would start melting and sputtering, but once the right temperature was achieved, there was a host of “ooos” and “ahhs”.  Depending on the canvas color (which the kids selected and painted last week) and the color of the crayons, the effect was muted or bold.  And, as it turns out, cheap crayons melt more quickly and with more flare than more expensive ones.  We also had a couple of crayons warm up to the point where they bent and then broke off.

Here’s to hands-on experiences!

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