Sunday, 30 March 2014

Spring Tulips- An invitation for Observation and Art

As we are all done with winter and ready for spring, Mrs. Walsh suggested to D.K and A.B that they draw pictures of tulips. They came into the classroom and asked Ms. Tompkins to help them find pictures on the computer to see what a tulip was. They chose a picture they wanted to draw. They shared a paper and got to work. 

Ms. Tompkins remembered that Ms. Durant had white tulips in her class, so she borrowed it to inspire the students by allowing them to see a real one. They used magnifying glasses to examine the flower. Here is the conversation that happened while the students were examining the flowers.

D.K- I see little pieces of fur
A.B- I see little, I felt slimy stuff
D.K- (touched the yellow part of the flower) it feels strange, like a blanket 

A.B- it’s going to die because some leaves are falling off
D.K- something is weird, when they are up (at this point a petal fell off of the tulip) Woah! Look at it!
A.B- it fell off!

D.K- Ms. Tompkins feel it, how soft it is! Feel this one and feel this one they are different. I think we should take this. This leaf is healthy.
Ms. Tompkins- why?
D.K- because it feels nice and strong and this one feels nice and soft. So I think this one is weak. It is not very healthy. Look at this one and this one, this one is healthy this one is not.
A.B- the stem feels really, really smooth, smooth like the leaves of the tulip and also the leaves feel funny
D.K- it’s time for them to fall and this investigation needs a bug to go inside it to hide for the winter, so it isn't cold for it’s family
A.B- the nectar is a little white if you look closely it’s white. The nectar feels soft.
A.M- the nectar when it turns, it goes in here when a bee comes and new nectar comes in and a new flower will come and the new nectar will come from another flower.
D.K- Lets feel the temperature of the soil. It feels cool, lets get a thermometer. Ms. Tompkins where are they? 
He began walking around looking for them, Mrs. Landolfi brought David two. He took one and stuck it into the soil in the tulip pot.
Ms. Tompkins- why did you put that in the soil?
D.K- to tell the temperature. We didn’t know the temperature. If it was super cold how would we know if it was sick?

As this happened at the end of the day, many other students became curious and wanted to participate. So Ms. Tompkins went to the store and got some more tulips for the classroom. We set up a provocation (an invitation for learning) to allow the students to sketch what they saw and then painted their sketches.

We are hoping that this burst of spring in our classroom will encourage spring to come outside!


  1. We are waiting for the tulips in our backyard to grow too! Mikah says our tulips are all different colors.

  2. I love the students drawings/paintings of the tulips. They are absolutely beautiful! Just wondering if you use special paper when using water paints?

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment! The students worked really hard on their paintings. For this activity we used normal paper for our sketches and then used water colour paper for their final copies. Using the thicker water colour paper allows for their paintings to have a more polished and professional look to them.