STEM Exploration Station: Colors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the month of August, the STEM Exploration Station theme was Color.

Our main activity was a hue matching game that I found online.  This simple activity had a lot of STEM concepts wrapped up in it. Talking about hue versus color introduced new vocabulary terms. Matching the hues increased visual discrimination and helped with sorting skills, since children had to figure out that this particular hue was going to be found on one of the green paint strips and thus they could ignore the red or blue strips. It also helped build one-to-one correspondence, which is an important math skill.

To make the activity, I got a dozen or so paint chips from the hardware store and laminated them before cutting them in half. One half I cut into smaller individual shades and had a volunteer hot glue the smaller pieces to a clothespin. Children could then pin the color to the proper hue stripe. The colors in my picture are not very good. In real life it was easier to differentiate the hues from one another. This was an extremely popular activity, but it had some downsides. First, the pieces couldn’t easily be tied to the table, and I would occasionally find all the color clothespins being used as food in the kitchen area or otherwise where they weren’t supposed to be. The second big downfall was a manufacturing problem, which I think can be overcome. The hotglue simply wasn’t up to the task. I’m not sure if it was because it didn’t want to stick to the lamination, or if it was simply not the right adhesive for the job, but by the end of the month the little pieces of paint strip had started to fall off the clothespins (or possibly were torn off by toddlers, but the end result is the same). I think using superglue would have solved that particular problem. I’m glad that I laminated them, because even with that protection they were starting to look a little worn by the end of the month, but I guess that is a sign that they were well-used and enjoyed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause it was August, I knew that there would be more older children and parents interacting with the materials than I would expect during the school year, when the picture book room is largely used by younger children. To try to engage this older audience I printed out the classic Stroop Test. I thought this could also be used by younger children and their parents to simply identify the colors, or to start identifying color words for the emerging readers.

I had a little magnetic color sorter, so I put that out on the table too. You use a magnetic wand to move colored balls around a maze and drop each ball into a reservoir of the matching color. While generally enjoyed, the novelty of the clothespins meant that the hue matching activity was more popular.

 

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