A quick, but fun post tonight! After having two, 3 day weeks (due to conferences and work days), this is our first full week back, and I have had a lot of planning to do (and of course relaxing and spending time with my family over the weekend).
A few years ago, I discovered the beauty of SOAP animals. I was teaching a unit on living things and animals, and we were talking about animal traits, habitats, features, and characteristics. It was near state testing, and I was looking for an exciting project for my kids to complete that would engage them and relax them. So, the soap animal craze in my classroom was born.
It's easy. All you need is a bar of Ivory soap, paper plates, a microwave, and some decorative doodads.
Put your bar of soap on a plate and place it inside the microwave. Turn the microwave on for about 30 seconds, or until it starts to foam and "explode" as my kids called it. (I highly recommend testing it out at home first to see how long it takes).
As soon as the soap animal comes out, take what it looks like and make it into some sort of animal. Use the doodads to dress it up and give it eyes. I didn't let my students do too much manipulating with the soap--they had to work with what they were given.
I love Tuskavil here. For some reason, his soap didn't explode other than right out the back end, and thus, he became some sort of underwater creature.
After that, the students had to name their animal, list at least 3 characteristics of the animal, write what they liked to eat, and the habitat they lived in. Finally, they had to decide whether or not it was a vertebrate or invertebrate. (All of their information had to go together and make sense.) Later on, they wrote a short paragraph (during our Daily 5 Work on Writing Center) about their creation.
My students were just thrilled with their soap creatures, and it was a fun activity to relieve some pent up energy.
*USE CAUTION when you try other soaps such as Dove, Ivory, or Dial. There may have been an incident involving sparks and smoke before I discovered this...* (If you HAVE to use one of these, microwave is very small increments--7 to 10 seconds--, and your results won't quite be the same.)*