From Pipi’s Pasture: Learning by coloring eggs
The inspiration for this week’s column comes from the teacher side of me. Because I’ve been teaching for about forty years, my “feelers” are always out fun everyday opportunities that can be incorporated into learning experiences for children. It’s all about finding “hands on” activities that can motivate kids anytime but especially now that so many of them are completing school work at home.
An example of an activity that can be used to enhance science is coloring Easter eggs. There are three activities that you can do with your kids as you color eggs this season. The first involves using the dye tablets that are purchased in kits. To get started, ask your children to help measure out the water and vinegar required to get the cups of dye ready. If hot water is called for in the kit directions, adult supervision is a must.
Ask your children, “What will happen when the tablets are put in the cups?” (This is a simple hypothesis.)
Talk about the meanings of words “dissolve” and “fizz.” Suggest that children stir the tablets. What happens? Let the kids color the eggs. They can talk about the reason an egg might be a darker color on one side and lighter color on the other side.
When finished with the eggs, children can draw and color pictures to show what they did. Young children might identify colors.
Next, ask your children how eggs can be colored if not using tablets. If they can’t think of a way, suggest using food colorings. Children can plan the procedure. Have them measure out the water. Ask the children to keep track of the drops of food coloring added to each cup. This can be done on a simple chart that you help the children prepare. What happens when the food coloring is stirred into the water? How can the color be made darker? How can the children make colors not provided in the food coloring kit?
Keeping track of the number of drops helps children learn about recording data. After the eggs are colored, older children can write a sentence or two as a conclusion to this simple investigation. (This is practice in language arts.) Younger children can draw and color a picture to show what happened.
A third egg coloring experiment involves making the dyes from vegetables. This investigation will take more than one day. The question to be answered in this activity is, “Can we make dyes from vegetables that can be used to color Easter eggs?”
On a trip to the grocery store, ask kids to check out the vegetables. Which of them might be boiled to provide dyes? Examples are red cabbage and onion skins. Choose a small amount of vegetables. Children will make an “educated guess” (hypothesis) as to what color of dyes the vegetables might produce.
Later, cut up vegetables and boil each separately. Strain the vegetables and save any colored water for later. After collecting the “dye,” ask your children to decide how to color the eggs. Results of dye colors can be kept on s simple chart. When finished, ask children to write a brief summary about the results.
By coloring eggs, children can begin to use the steps in carrying out experiments and learn to communicate their findings, too. Thanks for bearing with me with my teaching column.
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