Create Weather Art Stations With Your Kids

Title of Lesson: Weather Art Stations: Sun Catchers (heat), Straw-Blown Paintings (air/wind), Coffee Filter Hot Air Balloon (precipitation), and optional Four-Season Hand Art

Background:  Storm has the mutant ability to control the weather to a great extent (for instance, she can cause tornadoes to take down fighter jets).  She is African and was once worshipped as a god before Xavier took her in.  As Storm is connected to her environment she must maintain control of her emotions or a fit of rage could cause violent weather. Storm is able to control all forms of weather from temperature, to precipitation, to being able to generate lightning, and has also shown the ability to control atmospheric pressure. While she is able to create all these weather forms, she is also able to disperse them as well.  

Weather is a part of everyday life and can affect little things such as your choice of clothes or activities. Weather can also be severe and affect your life in bigger ways, as seen in the damage done by a hurricane or tornado. Meteorologists study the components of weather--the conditions of the atmosphere such as temperature, precipitation, wind, and clouds—in an effort to predict the weather and help people be better prepared. In this lesson, students use daily observations, videos, and activities to learn about meteorology and the changing nature of weather. Students also identify weather events that are commonly reported in the news and discuss how weather affects lives.

Grades: K-5 (differentiation is built in)

Learning Goals: Students will be able to do the following:

  • Students will create art using different types of “weather” related techniques
  • Students will work in small, cooperative groups 

Materials for Sun Catchers:

  • Old crayons (red, orange, yellow)
  • Cheese grater (to make crayon shavings; pre-shaved for safety)
  • Wax paper (pre-cut into circles to save time or for younger youth)
  • Yellow cardstock (pre-cut cut into sun shape to save time or for younger youth)
  • Optional: hair dryer if it’s not a sunny day

Materials for Blow Paintings:

  • Variety of paint (slightly watered down)
  • Small cups (to put paint in)
  • ·White cardstock or construction paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Straws

Materials for Hot Air Balloon Art:

  • Jumbo coffee filters
  • Optional: Wax paper (to use as a work mat to keep desks clean) or paper towels
  • Felt pens or markers (or water colors but you will not need water bottle)
  • Spray bottle
  • Black Sharpies
  • Glue stick
  • Blue yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Wet wipes

Materials for 4-Seasons Hand Art (K-2 option)

  • Brown construction or butcher paper (½ sheets)
  • Light blue construction paper (cut in ½ sheets)
  • Variety of paint (white, green, brown, orange, red)
  • Paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Glue stick
  • Wet wipes
  • Optional: Q-tips

Vocabulary:

Weather: It describes the condition of the air at a particular time and place. Weather also tells how the air moves (wind) and describes anything it might be carrying such as rain, snow or clouds. Thunder, lightning, rainbows, haze and other special events are all part of weather.

Sun: It’s responsible for most of the earth's weather, even though it is 93 million miles away. The Sun’s intense heat gives energy to the earth's atmosphere and sets it in motion. The Sun is a star, 868,000 miles across, in the center of our solar system.

Wind: The movement of air relative to the surface of the earth. 

Air: The mixture of gases, which form the atmosphere of the Earth.

Precipitation: General name for water in any form falling from clouds. This includes rain, drizzle, hail, snow and sleet. Although, dew, frost and fog are not considered to be precipitation. 

Lesson:

  1. Tell youth that today they will create different types of art based on different weather techniques. *For younger grades, you can just choose one of the stations if you prefer.  Older youth should be able to get through at least 2 of the stations if time permits.
  2. Explain the 3 stations: Sun Catchers where they will create a model of the sun using crayon shavings and place them outside to let the heat of the sun create the “core;” Straw Blown Paintings where they will use wind/air to blow paint through straws to create art; and Coffee Filter Hot Air Balloons where they will use paint and water/precipitation to create tie dye art on a coffee filter that can be turned into a hot air balloon piece.

Sun Catchers Activity

NOTE: You will need to have the crayons pre-shaved as the youth could cut their fingers on the cheese grater!

  1. Ask youth what they know about the sun. Be sure to remind them The Sun is a star, 868,000 miles across, in the center of our solar system.
  2. Tell youth that today they will see how the Sun affects their art like it does our daily weather.
  3. First youth will design a large sun template on their yellow card stock or they can trace the pre-made templates.  I would have them trace something round first, in the center of the card stock; this is the part they will cut out, the “core.”  Then they will draw the sun flares around the circle they just drew/traced.  Repeat this step so they end up with 2 identical sun models.
  4. Next have them cut out the core of the sun and cut around the sun flares.
  5. They will place their sun on top of a piece of wax paper and trace the circle of the sun onto the wax paper.  Repeat this step again so they end up with 2 circular pieces of wax paper.
  6. Youth will need to glue 1 of the wax circles onto 1 of their sun templates.  Repeat with the other wax paper and sun template.
  7. Pass out a small handful of the crayon shavings to each youth and have them sprinkle them onto the center of 1 of their wax circle/sun templates.
  8.  Take the other wax circle/sun template and lay it down on top of the shavings and glue it down. 
  9. Have youth rub their hands together to create friction/heat and try to “iron” out the shavings.
  10. Youth will carefully pick up their sun catchers and take them outside and place them in the sun.
  11. Check back after ____ minutes and the shavings should be melted and your Sun Catcher should be complete!  You can also use a hair dryer to speed up the process if it’s not a sunny day.

NOTE: A piece of yard or thread can be attached so youth can take them home and hang them in a window or they can simply be taped!

Straw Blown Paintings Activity:

NOTE: You will want to slightly water down the paint in the cups to help with the fluidity of the blow painting.

  1. Ask youth what wind is?  How do you know when it’s a windy day; what do you see, hear, feel?
  2. Tell youth that today they will create some beautiful artwork by blowing (using wind) colorful paint across the paper using straws!
  3. Ask: How can I get the paint to move and dance across the paper using only this straw?
  4. Show youth the supplies they will use today and remind them that they don’t and shouldn’t blow hard or forcefully.  Think of blowing like a light breeze.  NOTE: Remind youth not to suck in or they will get a mouth full of paint!
  5. Pass out the supplies and let the youth begin their blow paint creations.  They will quickly discover how to dip straw into the paint, place it on the paper first, then blow. Try to let them figure this technique out on their own!
  6.  Encourage them to create a scene from outside that real weather might create and if time permits, allow them to share their creations.  

 Coffee Filter Hot Air Balloons Activity

  1. Ask youth to define precipitation and names the various types of precipitation that fall.
  2. Ask youth if they’ve ever seen a hot air balloon either in person, on TV or a picture. See if anyone can tell you what makes a hot air balloon rise, float and return to the ground? Hot air balloons fly because of a very simple scientific principle: hot air rises and it is lighter than cold air, which means it rises. Example: If you live in a 2-story home/apartment, and go upstairs on a hot day in the summer, it will be much warmer than the downstairs. 
  3. Tell youth today they will be creating a Hot Air Balloon art creation which will incorporate the idea of precipitation (water).
  4. Begin by showing a model of the Hot Air Balloon art or a picture version.  Preview the materials and steps prior to passing out the supplies.
  5. Begin by passing out a coffee filter to each youth. *You may want to put down a piece of wax paper so that the desks don’t get as messy. Remind youth that they will need to work cooperatively to share the felt pens or markers (water colors if you choose to use those). The first step is to decorate their coffee filter but remind them that once they spray water on it, the colors will bleed together to form a sort of tie dye.  They can do stripes, dot or random splotches of color.
  6. As youth work to decorate their coffee filter, you can prepare the water bottle at a station or walk around with it as the youth are ready.  Be sure to set the water bottle spray to the light mist setting (test this before hand).  Allow youth to “mist” their own coffee filter over their wax paper (or a paper towel). Begin with only one spray to see if they need more.
  7. Allow the coffee filters to dry before having youth fold the filter in half and draw a hot air balloon shape on it with a pencil.
  8. Next cut out the hot air balloon and glue it on top of the light blue cardstock/construction paper.
  9. Using a black marker/sharpie, youth can add details to their balloon such as stripes, zig zags, flowers, dots, etc.  Don’t forget to add a basket too.
  10. Youth can add more details to the blue background using markers or crayons.  Encourage youth with extra time to draw a picture of themselves riding in the basket.
  11.  Reflect by asking “Where would you like to go in a hot air balloon?”

 4-Seasons Hand Art Activity (K-2):

  1. Ask youth what the 4 main seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.  Write these on the board or on chart paper.  *You could ask youth to help you spell as you write each word!
  2. Tell them today they will create the 4 seasons in an activity called “4 Season Hand Art.”
  3. Show them the pre-made model or picture.
  4. Start by having youth trace their right or left hand/arm by placing it on top of the brown butcher/construction paper.  *Staff may need to help with this step or have pre-made “tress” already traced and/or cut.
  5. Once the hand/arm is traced, have youth cut out the hand which will end up being the tree/trunk and glue it onto the light blue construction paper.
  6. Repeat steps 1 & 2, three more times for a total of 4 “trees” for the 4 seasons. *You may want to do one tree at a time in case you run short on time.
  7. Ask youth what season they want to start with?  Choose a volunteer to call out a season like “Winter” and ask them what does Winter look like; what is the weather like during the winter?  Model for them how to use their pinky/finger or Q-tip, dip it in the white paint and dot it onto their blue backdrop drop and tree to create “snow.”  They could add details like snow on the ground, snowballs or even a snowman if they have time while the others finish.
  8. Have them wipe off their white paint using a wet wipe and it’s time to proceed to the next season. 
  9. Repeat the above steps (7 & 8) for Spring, Summer, Fall.  The youth can always go back and add details at the end if they have time.
  10. Be sure to let the season art dry before having them label each season art ½ sheet.

What I learned/Assessment:

  1. Ask the students to tell you what their favorite station was or what they liked best about the art project(s) they did.
  2. Ask the students to tell you how different weather techniques helped them create art today.
  3. Solicit youth for ideas on how else they could use weather to create art.

Resources:

TEKS: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter117/ch117a.html

SEL Standards:

https://www.austinisd.org/sites/default/files/dept/sel/images/A.I.S.D._SEL_Standards_-_Elementary_and_Secondary_9-11-12_0.pdf

Other:

http://morningsunrae.blogspot.com/2010/08/catching-sun.html

http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/01/straw-blown-paintings.html

http://www.makeandtakes.com/coffee-filter-hot-air-balloons

http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-does-a-hot-air-balloon-fly-2

http://www.123homeschool4me.com/2013/10/weather-unit-2-seasons.html