Friday, February 15, 2013

1/2 Day Schedule = Quick STEM to STEAM Lesson!


Theo Jansen  –  Dutch Artist and Kinetic Sculptor

~ Wind Powered Beats that are Works of Art ~

Today was a half-day at school so that the teachers could do our yearly in-service training on work place harassment and anti-bullying laws (it was re-scheduled from a previous date that was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy).  At the 3d-5th grade school we have a half-day schedule that is completely different from our regular schedule.  The classes that came to art today had already had their regular art class this week, so this was their second time in the art room.  Since Friday's classes were now not getting their regularly scheduled art class (setting us back a week, sigh...)  I was not going to start today's groups on the next step of our new lesson (putting them ahead of everyone else), so as I drove in to work today I thought about what we could do....

I remembered that I had pinned the above video about Theo Jansen, a Dutch sculptor who invents these really cool wind powered "Strand Beasts" as he calls them.  I found the You Tube  clip for it on a post from Phyl at There's a Dragon in my Art Room.  I was so excited to see the link for the clip!  I had seen the interview on CBS Sunday Morning and thought his pieces were incredible!  The video clip is about six minutes long which was perfect since our class is only 30 minutes long.  After the video (which they all wanted to keep watching because they were just amazed by his pieces!)  We talked about Jansen's creations and then I asked them to draw their own mechanical creation's. 

The students came up with some great ideas for robots and machines that would do something for them.

Some of the many ideas they came up with were....    A Create Your Own Fashion Machine that would design and make One-of-a-Kind clothing for you.  A robot that puts teachers in a trance so they couldn't give classwork (ha!ha!).  Two of the boys worked together brainstorming and came up with a very cool contraption that Hunters/Fisherman could take with them on outdoor trips...  It carried everything they needed plus had a seat and a hunting blind they could sit on!

Many of the creations also did homework and/or cleaned their rooms for them!

The above creation is a house submarine!

This one carried you around and let you play video games.

This one was a drawing machine!  

Even though this was quick lesson, done in one 30 minute class, the students got to see how an artist used physics to create some very cool sculptures that walked simply powered by the wind.  

The kids used their own imaginations to dream up machines that would do something for/with them.  All the classes had a lot of fun with this lesson.  I will be doing this one again!


This is the February bulletin board outside my room.  I rotate months with the 4th grade teacher across the hall from me.  I needed something quick at the beginning of the month so I found this quote I pinned long ago, drew out the letters and had some of the students who were done with their projects color it in.  I used old painting placemats for the borders and cut stars from some painted paper scraps. 

These pics are views from my driveway on the morning of Valentine's Day.  We had a snowstorm the night before and everything was coated in beautiful white snow!  It was very pretty!  Even the sky had the Valentine's Day spirit with the pink clouds!

One day later, today,  the temperature was in the high 50's, sunny and felt like Spring!

It's a four day weekend for me.
We have Monday and Tuesday off from school for President's Day! 

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Mrs.C  :)


  1. That video was amazing!! Great idea for a lesson plan too!

    1. I am currently working on lessons for my classes that all have STEM to STEAM. So I had STEAM on my mind! My K-2 grades are doing an architecture lesson for an engineering connection and my 3d-5th grades are doing lessons with a science connection. Will post when we are done in a few weeks! :)

  2. I'm assuming you got that video from me, since I posted it on my blog after a math teacher in my (former) school district emailed it to me, knowing I would be intrigued. Or perhaps you first saw it on Pinterest, since I know that it was pinned from my blog. However you found it, I think it's really cool how you turned it into an inspiration for a creative problem-solving lesson. Great idea!

    1. I actually first saw the interview on CBS Sunday Morning during the Fall ( watch it every Sunday they always have great interviews ) I was amazed by his pieces! I honestly do not know where I pinned it from so I just went into my pin history and checked. The pin said it was downloaded directly from YouTube. So I went back to see your post and yes! I did tell you I was Pinning it! Thanks for finding it ! I am going back and giving you credit for the original find! Sorry it was quite some time ago and didn't remember seeing it on your post first! :)

    2. Ok, I just fixed the post to give you credit for sharing the video link. Sorry... I honestly did not remember that is where I had pinned it from. I usually am very careful to give credit to all my original sources! Thanks again for sharing it ! :)

  3. LOVE that you are going STEM to STEAM. I saw this on Sunday Morning as well and was intrigued by it. I will definitely borrow your video and Phyl's to share with my class. Love the approach with your students to this creative, imaginative project.

  4. It all started with a workshop myself and one of our 5th grade teachers attended in the Fall. We have to develop STEM to STEAM lessons and go back and present them. So... these next 4-5 weeks are going to be all STEM to STEAM as I compile ideas and introduce lesons to all my classes! I have been saving ideas as I find them on my Pinterest board STEM to STEAM. After going through lessons from last year and checking out the math and science curriculum for my district,I have found that a lot of our lessons have some kind of STEM connection! :)