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LaVérendrye students know snow

École LaVérendrye is carving out a reputation for superb snow sculpting.

LaVérendrye teacher Murray Carter and his Grade 3 students created a snow sculpture installation in front of the school. The sculptures are of different forest animals, including rabbits, wolves and bears.

Carter said the outdoor learning project is connected to the class’s science unit on water.

“I incorporated science into it. We talked about solids and liquids and which takes up more space,” Carter said.

“The kids were fascinated. I said ‘If I take a big chunk of snow and melt it, would I have more water or more snow?’ The students thought it would be snow. So, one student brought a pretty good chunk of snow into the school and put it in a bin. They were flabbergasted the next morning when there was very little water.”


The students preplanned their snow sculptures on paper before getting to work. The class used several large moving boxes as forms, which they filled up with snow, packing it down tightly.

The LaVérendrye school yard was a little lacking in snow, so Carter hauled in a truck load of the cold white stuff from the country.

“I parked my truck on the boulevard and we shoveled it out and the students all took little shovels and filled their boxes,” Carter said. “But we only managed to fill about half the boxes with snow, so I went out for another truck load. I found a place just off Wellington, filled up my truck and at second recess we loaded the boxes again.”

After filling the forms, the students let their piled snow set over night.  

“Then we take the box off and we start carving it into whatever we want,” said Henley, a Grade 3 student at LaVérendrye.


Carter taught his students the basics of snow sculpturing, but they brought their individual imaginations to the installation. 

“After a day of carving, the kids asked if they could bring in food colouring in spray bottles,” Carter said. “That was their initiative. You’ll see there are painted eyes and noses and mouths. They just wanted to define the features with food colouring. I thought that was interesting on their part.”

Hannah, a Grade 3 student, said she really enjoys creating snow art.

“I like it because it’s fun and you get lots of experience with snow and textures. It’s really fun because you get to decorate it with dye after,” she said.

In addition to the science behind snow sculptures, Carter said the project offered very practical lessons in planning, taking one’s time, and the value of hands-on work.

“The kids are so proud,” Carter said. “At the end of the school day, they take their parents to the sculptures and show them what they made.”


 

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