Creating Northern Lights/ Aurora Borealis Effects with First Graders
May 20, 2013
When Mrs. Kavney’s first grade class wanted to make an aurora borealis for their Alaska project I went home and experimented with all sorts of materials to see if I could come up with something reasonable. After many failed attempts I am happy to say that I have a lovely technique to share. By the way, I am doing my best to spell aurora borealis correctly throughout this post, but forgive me if I slip up. The spell check doesn’t get it.
The first step barely hints at how the end product will turn out. I opened up #4 white coffee filters and asked the students to decorate them with bands of colored markers. I provided Crayola Gel markers, because I like their hues, but any water soluble marker will do.
You might have noticed the protective shiny paper on the work area. If I didn’t have this freezer paper around, I would have used waxed paper under the colored paper.
To blend the rough edges of the strokes of the markers, students gave their colored coffee filters a light coat of water, then….
… they slipped their little hands into plastic bags and squeezed and smooched the colors around, to create streaks and blends. This is when the WOW effect began to emerge.
Our Northern Lights now needed to dry. This took only of couple of hours.
Students then pinched together a few little folds,to mimic the rays of light streaking down from the heavens.
The added advantage of this step is that the project took a step away from the original shape of the coffee-filter.
Notice that we’re still using the freezer paper to protect our work surface. Here, a thin coat of white glue (like Elmer’s Glue) is lightly applied to the BACK of our Northern Lights paper.
Now, the colored, creased, and glued paper is laid, unglued side up, upon the black paper of the final project. The glue that strayed on to the black paper virtually disappeared after drying.
One last touch, which had to dry overnight, was to use tubes of glitter glue to create a bit more drama. I limited each borealis to three or four glitter-glue streaks.
Students then cut out a silhouette of snowy mountains. Finally we were done with THIS part of the project.
Visit my previous post for more of a look at the finished product.