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In the Classroom: The Starfish

Singing Our Way to Science!

It all started when we noticed the Starfish spontaneously singing the Oscar-award winning song, Let It Go from the movie Frozen several times a day. We never imagined that what began as a catchy tune would end up in an all-out exploration of science.
Following the children’s interest, we printed a copy of the lyrics and found a sing-along video on YouTube. After defining what lyrics were, we watched and listened to each line.  We paused the video to discuss what was being talked about. 
We discovered new words and looked at images of fractals and crystallization on Google. Then we watched the video again. Folks were excited to recognize both when fractals and a crystallizing chandelier were sung about and shown! 
On another day we deepened our studies and attempted to make fractals with our puzzle pattern pieces, paper squares, and by making drawings. I was not fully satisfied with our results. I asked a tech-minded friend for help and she reminded me that Vi Hart, a self-described "recreational mathemusician" known for her mathematical videos, has fractal videos on YouTube.
I cut up some strips of paper and after watching Vi Hart we made our very own simple fractals! Our exploration continued as we found a crystallized tangerine in our worm food bin…literally! 
As teachers, we constantly gauge the interest of our young learners. If their enthusiasm continues, we will try to reproduce this crystal effect with various objects in the freezer. We will also read, ‘The Snow Queen,’ by Hans Christian Anderson, the inspiration for the movie that prompted our learning adventure!
Who knew pop culture could foster so many teachable moments?