1st Graders Create Shadowboxes

by Michael Porter
The 1st graders combined connections, science, and artistry to create shadowboxes in the MakerSpace.
The students collaborated, brainstormed, designed, and built shadowboxes as part of their Deep Dive in the MakerSpace which concluded last week.

As far back as October, students began to experiment with light and its qualities. They found that moving a flashlight closer or further back from an object changed the size of its shadow.
Science specialist Deborah Landon conducted an activity with the students where they experimented with just that. To cement the experience in their minds, the students traced the shadow of small animals figures onto a sheet of paper.
It's always fun to work in the dark -- and on the floor!
They learned the difference between transparent, translucent, and opaque materials. This knowledge would come in handy later when the students began to construct their projects.

Next, the students split up into pairs. Ms. Landon and Ms. Knodel directed the students to compare interests, favorites, and personal traits to discover ways they were "connected."
The students brainstormed ways to incorporate these connections into the theme for their shadowboxes. Most of them styled pipe cleaners into little versions of themselves, which were used as avatars in their dioramas. Some cut out bits of cardboard to form facial features, hairstyles (including ponytails!), and pieces of furniture. Others used the Criket device for make realistic signs.

The students took their plans and their knowledge and set to work building their shadowboxes. Cardboard, scissors, and hot glue guns in hand, they created their masterpieces. The boxes are lit from behind with a flashlight, and the cardboard cutouts and pipe cleaner human figures cast shadows on a sheet of white tissue paper draped across the front. Tinted gel sheets add a touch of color to their projects.
Lastly, the students recorded presentations to their parents as they showed off their shadowboxes