13 September, 2011


This past week my class has been very interested in the idea of reflections.  The interest started when one of my students returned home from a trip to Chicago, talking all about his experience at The Bean. He shared photographs and told the whole class all about it!

What is The Bean?  Well . . .

Cloud Gate (the sculpture's real name), a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States. The sculpture and AT&T Plaza are located on top ofPark Grill, between the Chase Promenade and McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed "The Bean" because of its bean-like shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons).

Bean recreation, after Day 1
After the exciting and enticing explanation about his trip to The Bean, E and a group of students headed over to the block area, to begin work on recreating it.  This naturally involved LOTS of tape and aluminum foil, and the project is still underway.  Much of the students' discussion while they were working centered around reflections, what a person would see if he was under The Bean (his own reflection), and what people saw when they look at the side of it (the reflection of the sky and the city of Chicago.  

The students have lost a bit of their steam in The Bean block recreation so I was happy to be able to introduce some reflection exploration into our Science area.  

This table (as you can see in the photograph above) has a section that lights up.  This adds another element to the exploration.  Students may examine the relationship between reflections and light as well as simply reflection.  It is especially nice that this table can be placed in front of a sunny window.  That way the children can have light from two very different sources.  Bonus! 

Materials on the Reflection Table:

  • silk scarves
  • mirrored trays
  • acrylic "ice cubes" in magenta and orange
  • set of nesting mirrors
  • plastic cocktail stirring sticks
  • a hologram-looking paper hanging star (I don't think you can see this in the picture)
  • feathers
  • mirrored tongs
  • hanging set of green glass ball Christmas ornaments
  • sea shells
  • translucent bathtub suction treads
  • acrylic blue, white, and orange gems, sorted into a wooden and a felted bowl 
and of course, the piece de resistance . . .
  • the disco ball!
I hope to have more photographs of the children's exploration of this area, later in the week and hopefully beyond.  I have more items to add as time progresses, so I hope that will keep their interest up. I am excited to see where this reflections work goes!

Have your students explored this topic?  What kinds of projects did you do?  Please share!  Thank you!

Update:  Here are a few photos of my students, hard at work at the reflection table!

Ooops.  They learned (the hard way) that dropping big rocks in glass bowls is not such a good idea!


  1. I really love how you go with the children's interests/work in emergent curriculum/incorporate the project approach/throw in some Reggio Emilia. I would love to see your classroom-- it seems to have all the things I love best about early childhood education!

  2. Thank you! I love doing that. I feel like it makes learning much more interesting and meaningful. : )

  3. awesome!! do you have a facebook for your blog??

  4. Thanks! Nope, no Facebook page, but I do use networked blogs there if that is helpful! : )))


Thank you for your comments. They are always much appreciated. : )