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Water bottle wind spirals

Grassy hill with colourful decorations

Decorating with plastic bottles

On a trip to Canada over the Christmas holidays, I felt inspired by the primary school children of White Rock, a small town in British Columbia. The children had decorated the town centre with flowers made from recycled plastic bottles.

Sustainable Christmas decoration, so simple but beautiful! The sparkling, colourful lights on the White Rock pier reminded me of the various things children are fascinated by in regards to colours and light. For instance, a child might wonder how to create new colours. Or perhaps someone is fascinated by the colourful shadows created by the fairy lights. There is so much to discover about the world of light, darkness and everything in between. In our busy adult lives, however, this fascinating world is often buried underneath a long to-do list. Our Optics workshop is a great place to kindle your own excitement for all things shiny!

Encouraged by the idea to create sustainable decoration, I picked my brain for further ideas. I remembered making colourful wind spirals from plastic bottles a few years back to decorate my friend’s balcony. I loved the simplicity and the sound the spirals made in the wind. View detailed instructions on how to make wind spirals from recycled bottles

Colourful spirals made from plastic bottles blowing in breeze near trees
Colourful wind spirals made from plastic bottles.

I love them because they are so pretty but what I like even more is the potential for STEM discovery hidden in what seems to be ‘only’ arts and crafts. Put your STEM hat on and ask yourself: What could children be pondering about when watching the spirals dangle in the wind? What question could I pose to spark children’s interest in air?

Each child will have their own approach when working on a creative task and each of them might wonder about different things. I regularly send little reminders to myself when I am with children: Don’t assume! The more I know about a child’s thoughts, the better I can scaffold their learning.

Prompting and questioning are two powerful tools for accumulating knowledge about what your children like to explore and how much they perceive their environment. But not each question has the same effect on children! Learn about asking the right question at the right time in our Air workshop.

Have you completed an STEM air project in your service? What questions arose?
Let us know in the comments below.

Avatar: Woman with brown eyes and brown hair up in bun
Article author: Heike Hendershot
National Training Manager

With an extensive background in education and a fearless passion for collaborative learning environments, Heike manages the development and implementation of workshop content and supports the team of training facilitators at Little Scientists.

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