Saturday, September 22, 2012

Science Experiment in the Art Room

I really enjoy subject integration. I feel that it helps the students' learning come full circle. Integration helps them relate particular subjects to life, especially when art is integrated because art is everywhere. My main science integration comes in when we do crayon or oil pastel resists. There are many other lessons that weave in science, but I have to say that this was not in my curriculum.

Molded tempera. What?! I have been working on color and color mixing with my students. I decided that I would just fill old baby food containers with the primary colors and let the students share them. They each get their own paint pallet and learn paint mixing techniques. I had been using the containers for about a week in a half just fine, and then one Monday I walk into this.

I like to mix science and art, but i did not expect to grow spore samples. Now before I go further, I just want to note that my paint is VERY old. It's from 1999. 

This is an image of what I mostly have next to a new bottle. I did get a gracious budget, but I spent the money on things that I didn't have at all like watercolor, oil pastels, construction paper, and a couple of bottles of purple and orange paint. The closet was FULL of all the other colors. I shook them up, tested them and they seemed OK. Very runny but no obnoxious odor or anything so I figured they'll work. Everyone I've talked to says that they would just throw them out, but if I did that we would have no paint. I make it work.

I called Dick Blick to try and trouble shoot the problem. The person I spoke with said that tempera is a great base for growing mold. I did not know this. She also said not to have multiple students dip into the same container. My thing is that my paint is too runny to put on a paper plate or magazine page. I also have multiple classes paint in a day and I don't have the time to clean out pallets in between classes. Lastly, she said that the container the paint was in, or the original bottles may have had mold spores already in them. This is possible especially since the containers were baby food containers.

My solution; I still use the baby food containers, I just don't fill them up. I put a small amount in that usually last a couple of classes. I have to fill them up periodically throughout the day, but that would be no different then if I had to make new pallets for every class. While the paint will not last several weeks, it will last a couple of days. This way I can still put the top on them and use them again.

Have you had any odd or unexpected events happen in the art room? Share in the comments!

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1 comment:

  1. Oh my! I have had mold grow on clay projects before but never in my paint! How interesting. I use recycled egg containers but have never experienEd any mold growth, or at least none that I noticed. Glad I found your blog and happy art making!