Sunday, 5 October 2014

Chihuly - Changing States


 Melting Cups

Artist and Glass blower Chihuly is a great modern artist to use for a science art cross curricular link lesson. You Tube has a number of great videos showing Chihuly blowing glass and creating colour rich glass sculptures. Beginning a lesson by discussing the process of Chihuly and even playing Ping Pong critic can really enthuse the children.
I then gave the children a clear plastic cup. the size will effect the amount of curling and the speed in which it melts. The children then spent 10 minutes decorating their cups using sharpie (felt tips just aren't up to the job). Again this decorating stage is a great opportunity to encourage use of warm or cool colours or even pattern and complimentary colours. Once decorated the children placed their cups on cooking trays ready to go into the oven. I had already pre heated the oven to just around 50 degrees. The cups don't need to be in the oven long on a low heat so the children can sit and watch the process with the light on in the oven. They watched as the cups sank and curled, some even flattened. At this time it is great to bring in the science questioning. Why is this happening? What state is the plastic in now? Is the process reversible or irreversible?

The cups do not take long to melt so keep your eyes on them once the begin to bend you only have seconds. The whole process took lasted about 30 seconds from beginning to end. Space them out on the tray as some do fall over. Be careful they are still very hot when you take them out leave them to cool for a good five minutes before moving.