Friday, July 8, 2016

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Galaxy Art & Science

These galaxy-themed art works are the perfect combination of open-ended process art, realism, expressionism, and using science to create painting techniques and learn about the universe! It is perfect for an astronomy lesson or space theme!

This galaxy art project is appropriate for every age group because each child can focus on the type of art that is most appealing and appropraite for each skill level--I did it with preschoolers and a 1st and 4th grader. It is even fun for adults--I had as much fun experimenting with these techniques in making my own space art as the kids did! Here's mine:

We've been talking a lot about space and astronomy lately, so I bought light-weight canvasses for this project. The kids were really excited about painting on something more permanent than paper! They also bend less (and are less likely to fall apart) when the kids pile on the paint. And yes, I did suspect that would happen with this project!

Before we get started, I thought I'd share this collection of amazing pictures of galaxies and other things in the universe. I think they look so cool and can inspire your little artists!

First we painted the sky black using acrylic paint and sponges.

Science Lesson 1: Sponges have little holes that hold on to and transfer paint. Some grow in the ocean and some are made in factories. You can "draw" or "pat" with sponges to get different designs and textures.

After the black dried we used other colors to make a spiral galaxy, stars, nebulae, comets, planets, and any other cool items you might find in space...anywhere in our universe! I worked right along with them, and we all made our own work and talked about the processes with each other.

Science Lesson 2: Acrylic paint dries like plastic, so you can paint colors right on top of each other. If the bottom layer is dry, it will get covered up. If the bottom layer is wet, the colors will mix together.

Sometimes we painted with sponges, sometimes we painted with brushes, and some of us used our fingers!

Point out that bigger, brighter objects look like they're closer.

Science Lesson 3: Scientists think that if you "zoomed out" far enough, all spiral galaxies would appear to spin in the same direction but, depending on our point of view (whether we're looking at it from above or below), about half spin clock-wise and half spin counter clock-wise. You can make spirals with paintbrushes, fingers, or sponges. Experiment to find your favorite technique!

We added glitter too! There are lots of things in the universe that look like they might be sparkling!

Science Lesson 4: Glitter sticks best to wet paint. This may seem obvious to an adult, but it's news to a 3-year old! Sprinkle it on while the paint is still wet for best effects! We also had some experiments with mixing the glitter into the paint. They both make different effects!

The table may have got a little messier than I thought it would. Luckily I had lined the table with butcher paper, and it all cleaned up pretty quickly!

I like to let everyone make their galaxy paintings look the way they want. I love how they all look different, but have some common themes. Each had a spiral galaxy, planets, and new stars forming. After that, each child (and adult, hah!) created their own masterpieces!

We are joining with some of our bloggy friends to bring you resources for an astronomy unit today! Check out all these great ideas for learning about astronomy and space:

10 Fun Children's Books about Space from Crafty Mama in ME
Learning about the Solar System for Kids from Look! We're Learning!
Children's Astronaut Books from The Jenny Evolution
Melted Bead Planet Mobile from Schooling a Monkey
Space sensory salt tray activities from The Usual Mayhem
Galaxy Art & Science from Preschool Powol Packets
Night Sky Printable Activity from CraftCreateCalm
Outer Space Coloring Pages from Mrs. Karle's Sight and Sound Reading
Kids' Books about Mars from Books and Giggles
Outer Space Word Search from The Letters of Literacy
Astronaut Ten Frame Matching Game from The Kindergarten Connection
Moon Word Search from Tales of Education at Home
Astronomy for Kids: The Moon from Planet Smarty Pants

I would love to know if you do some galaxy art and science! Feel free to leave a comment, send me an email, or stop by my Preschool Powol Packets Facebook Page!

If you are working on a galaxy, space, or universe theme, you may also be interested in some space books! These are my absolute favorites right now:

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Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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