This week, Dora and I studied reptiles. I even learned some new things, such as what a “carapace” and a “plastron” are and that some snakes give birth to live babies! We first started this unit several weeks ago, when we went on a field trip to a reptile zoo. Dora remembered a lot from that field trip and was able to see how it all tied in with what we were studying at home. We started the week off by reading some introductory books, then assembled the Montessori turtle puzzle from our zoology set.
We then went on to make snakes, using Model Magic. Dora hasn’t really been exposed to Model Magic, because I’ve found that kids in her age group go through it like they do air. The stuff is a bit expensive to go through a big tub in one day. This particular set of Model Magic that I purchased, is a Model Magic Class Pack and comes with 75 one-ounce packets. I prefer the smaller packets as less tends to get wasted and kids can get several colors without opening a bunch of 8 ounce packets that they won’t finish (I haven’t found that Model Magic stores well, once opened, like I have heard claimed that it can). What I hadn’t realized, until we started working with the set, was that it only includes red, blue, yellow, and white (in my opinion, the photo makes it look like it includes other colors). This is ended up being a good thing, as I mentioned previously that Dora is extremely interested in learning how to make secondary colors from primary colors. For some reason, she seemed to grasp the concept better when using Model Magic (maybe because it is more hands on and takes longer to blend the colors?). We even tackled learning to make brown!
Dora really, really, really liked working with Model Magic, much more so than play dough. I must admit that I am also partial to its soft, airy texture. I had the idea to use seed beads to make eyes on my snake. You can see that Dora took the concept and ran with it, making a green pumpkin and red abominable snowman (I have no idea how she even knows what an abominable snowman is). I didn’t get a picture of this, because I was too busy playing with her, but she later went on to make a whole snake family, complete with a nest of eggs (she really didn’t like the fact that reptiles do not take care of their young and wanted a traditional, nuclear family made up of snakes – the snakes even went out for pancakes, which we don’t even do as a family!). Dora spent quite a bit of time happily making and remaking snakes and playing with her creations. Now she is super excited to be able to paint her dried creations tomorrow, which she never could do with play dough. She has had some experience with working with pottery clay in her art class and likes being able to paint that, but hates the feel of clay, so for us, Model Magic is a better option.
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