Whitemarsh Elementary students create art through science

In the process of learning the science of how light travels through different materials, Whitemarsh Elementary School students ended up creating some beautiful spring art to decorate their classroom windows.

First-graders in Mrs. Kelsey Rhoades' class recently participated in a science lesson where they imagined what it would be like if there were no windows. Through the process, they determined that there are many types of material that allow light to travel through, and other types of material that do not. One of the ways in which they discovered this was by creating their own version of a stained glass flower, using colorful pieces of tissue paper that were mounted onto a background and then placed on a classroom window.

“The students got to explore things that are transparent (such as windows and glasses), things that are translucent (like stained glass windows), and things that are opaque (like wood or rocks),” said Mrs. Rhoades. “The students will continue to investigate the different objects that let light shine through throughout the next few lessons. They are very excited!”

The science experiment in Mrs. Rhoades’ class is one of many different types of lessons being carried out through the use of the Mystery Science resource, which was put into place as part of an overhaul of the district’s science curriculum. Maria Wileczek, Curriculum Supervisor, said the Mystery Science resource has become popular with teachers and students, in part due to the pandemic. The resource provides teachers with different ways to conduct hands-on science experiments that translate well to both in-person and virtual settings. 

“The teachers have loved it and asked to use this resource even after most of our students have returned to the classroom,” said Mrs. Wileczek. “It is awesome because it is so hands-on and also provides great visuals which help students better understand challenging concepts.”

Another way that the district will be enhancing elementary science studies is through the cross-over of science topics into English/Language Arts lessons. Teachers are incorporating science topics into books that the children read together as a class. If children are learning about water, for example, they may read a book in class later that has to do with conservation of this natural resource. 

These enhancements will help Colonial School District to be prepared for when the newly revised state science standards are approved.