Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Third Grade: Rainbow Crayons by the Ounce!

Posted on: January 10, 2010

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan         Third Grade: Measurement

Written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP /Whitman ES 2009-10

Rainbow Crayons by the Ounce!

Cost per student: $.20 (this includes the cost of the scales and muffin tins)

Materials: a handful of old crayons per student (broken is fine and actually preferred; in past experiences I offer to clean out the crayon tubs from different classrooms and teachers get a clean tub, I get the broken crayons I need!), old muffin tins (for crafts not baking), spring scales (you can also use balances and a mass set for this, adjust as needed), old disposable cups (lightweight, like Solo or Dixie – I use the ones I store markers in), crayon recipe chart (see photo), oven

Students will create a beautiful rainbow crayon for rubbings and large drawings while following a “recipe” involving weight and color.

Elements of art: color, form

Vocabulary: weight, primary, secondary, warm, cool

1. Review the concepts of primary and secondary colors with your students. I have a large chart that students can refer to throughout the lesson, otherwise you might get asked 10,000 times. Then discuss the concept of warm and cool colors; some classes have already done this and some might need a review. See the filler lesson on warm and cool colors for ways to introduce this concept.

2. Explain that every student will be making a rainbow crayon. Ask kids what crayons are made out of; talk about how wax melts and the colors will fuse in the oven. Stress that we don’t want paper in the mix, ask what could potentially happen to paper in the oven. Show them the basics of peeling a crayon, breaking it to fit a muffin cup, and mounding the cup full (it will melt flat) so they get the idea of what happens. It is helpful to have a finished crayon so they know what they will end up making.

3. Show the kids the spring scales and demonstrate their use. I used a hole punch to put a hole under the lip of the Dixie cups; this allows the hook on the spring scale to lift the cup which the students will fill with crayons, allowing them to measure the weight of the crayons. 3 kids to a scale is a good ratio, since they don’t need to constantly measure the weight. Point out that the cup adds weight but you’ve adjusted the recipe for that.

4. I have my recipe sheet divided into 6 sections that I cut apart into 6 “cards”. Students need to pick 2 cards; that will create an interesting crayon. If you are not interested in reinforcing color concepts, you could just have kids weigh the right amount of crayons and just pick whatever colors they feel like including.

5. When students have the right weight of crayons selected and peeled, have them pour them into a single muffin cup in the muffin tin. Keep track of which student used which cup; I have marked the edge of each muffin cup on the tin with a letter in permanent marker; I then mark a matching chart with the student’s name next to each cup’s letter. That way the student is sure to get back their own crayon. Melt in the oven after class at about 175*. Don’t put them in there with other food, but it’s okay to bake something, and then use the oven’s residual heat to melt the crayons so you are not wasting energy. Let them cool down, then put them in the fridge (they will crack in the freezer) for an hour. Pop them out over a towel. Mark them with masking tape after consulting your chart so each kid gets the right crayon. Make crazy rubbings!


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