Saturday, April 30, 2016

France ~ Jacques Cousteau

As part of our French unit we spent a brief amount of time looking more closely at the very famous French Scientist and Conservationist Jacques Cousteau.  What an interesting man!

We began simply by chatting about him as  I wanted to find out what knowledge the kids already had.  Which as it turned out was very little. I grew up watching Cousteau so for me that was a little sad to see.

I played this brief video clip to give everyone a broad over view of his life and a glimpse at some of his accomplishments and then it was time for the picture book component.

This part of our France unit was created for the primary aged children in the group so I hunted a picture book to use as our spine.

I chose this particular book because of the simple flow of text. I only had one hour and I knew I wanted to include some art work, I needed a book that would get across what I wanted but that didn't take an exorbitant amount of time to read.

My other reason for choosing this particular book, were the stunning illustrations. They are pieces of art themselves. In fact, in the end these are what I used as our inspiration for our art activity.

Whilst there were a few steps involved in creating these each step is a simple process. If you have the time I'd probably recommend you complete these over a couple of days though. It was quite a big job to tackle all of this in one block of time.

I made sure to purchase the heavier weighted water colour paper in A3. I knew we would be using plenty of very wet paint and given the general heavy handedness of most young children we needed a thicker paper to ensure it didn't tear during the process.

First up I had the kids draw wavy ocean like lines across their pages in white oil pastel. Yes you can't see them and that is on purpose. I simply told the kids they needed to wait for the surprise.

Next up was to paint the entire page to appear as though it is under the ocean, so we used a combination of blues and greens. All in water colour paints that were heavily watered down as we only needed a muted effect for this. Now their wavy ocean lines will start to show through.

As soon as the page was covered in paint and before it had a chance to dry we sprinkled salt across it. This is a trial and error thing to attempt. The idea is that when the salt combines with the paint and slowly dries it will cause little bursts of colour to appear on the page. This worked better on some pages than on others.

Once it is all completely dry you can simply brush off the excess salt.

Whilst our backgrounds were drying we set about organising our chosen Cousteau divers. To save time I had already traced some of these images from the picture book pages. The kids simply chose the design they preferred and cut out their own versions.

They then set about painting and colouring them as they wished.

Whilst our divers were drying we needed to get to work on some of the smaller finishing pieces. Things like seaweed, fish , shells and all manner of objects that one would find whilst diving.

This part was completely free form and the kids simply played around with their own ideas and drawings.

Once everything was dry and neatly trimmed we glued it all onto the background sheet.

Whilst this was a huge task to try and tackle in a single hour the kids did an awesome job and they turned out way better than I could've imagined.

Be sure to pin this so you can easily find it again later!


More Cousteau Activities

Ticia over at Adventures in Mommydom used this exact same book but used it to encourage her kids to design an underwater home. Way cool, and it would make a great activity to include in a unit on this fabulous man! 

More France Themed Ideas

Our study of the Eiffel Tower
Our time with Madeline
The Glorious Flight 

Take a look at my France Pinterest Board for even more ideas for your France Unit Study

More Ocean Themed Ideas  

Take a look at my Oceans Pinterest Board for even more ideas for your Ocean Unit Study

Have a blast learning more about Jacques Cousteau and our amazing oceans!

Happy Homeschooling,

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Annette said...

I like it! :)

Ticia said...

How funny, we used that exact same book, but ended up doing a science project of design a home to live under the sea.

Kym said...

These are so great! I'd love to have you link this project up at the Virtual Refrigerator -

Leah Courtney said...

This looks great! I'm so bad at thinking up these creative activities.

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