I have been learning about translucence with the grade 4’s. We are working with tissue paper and rice paper, both of which are translucent. By some lucky miracle, the grade 4’s will also be learning about translucence in science. They are getting a head start.
Pick any search engine and ask for images of translucent items and you will be amazed. We thought of every day ordinary things that were translucent: sunglasses, tinted glass, bubbles, water and some ice, sheer scarves.
I love water. Perhaps this is why I have always loved things that were translucent. When I was a small girl, I loved swimming underwater in a lake with my eyes open. I liked looking at the sand and shells beneath me, and through the water at the sky and the white and green of the birch trees that dotted the shore line above me.
We have created many beautiful things with tissue paper in the grade 4 class. This week, I introduced rice paper to the students. Our final project will be created with rice paper and plexi glass. Each student closed their eyes and chose a small piece of rice paper or some other translucent paper from a basket. No two pieces were the same. Here is what some students wrote about their paper: Other students described the paper as bumpy, hairy, thicker than tissue paper, hard to tear, see through, with a pattern, as soft, as kind of smooth, furry. The paper came in every colour! Some had paper with patterns in it, or shapes with swirls that start on the inside and works its way around or a flower pattern. Some of the scraps of paper reminded the students of something else: “my paper has the same shape as Saskatchewan”, “my paper reminds me of the colour of a bull moose”, “the green of my paper reminds me of when I go quadding in a muddy place where there is green”, “my paper reminds me of my mom’s paintings”, “it reminds me of dryer sheets”,”this paper smells like Sue’s house”, “it makes me think of a dragonfly”. Because they did not choose their paper, some students did not like their paper while others did.
Students were then asked to glue their paper on a small piece of transparent film. They could tear it or cut it or arrange it any way they liked, eventually adding other scraps of paper to their design.