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MAKE A SNOW MACHINE



What you’ll need...

  • A sheet of newspaper or a leftover roll of wrapping paper, wallpaper or brown parcel paper

  • Sellotape

  • String

  • Two sticks. These could be kebab skewers, chopsticks, or sticks from the garden

  • Pen

  • Ruler

Suitable for ages 8-14 Time guideline: 30 minutes



Set designers often need to represent extreme weather on stage. You may think it’s impossible to bring weather conditions inside the theatre, but there are lots of tricks we use, which, with a bit of clever lighting, look like the real thing to the audience. Anything is possible – rain, thunder, wind, and most effective of all, snow. The famous opera La bohème tells the story of a group of struggling young artists, and is set in Paris in the winter. Our production uses snow on stage to add to the mood and atmosphere. With technology today, creating weather effects can be quite easy, but in the past set designers found ingenious ways to make it snow onstage. This activity explains one very old theatrical trick for creating this effect.


STEP ONE

First, cut your sheet of paper into a long rectangular shape. With a pen and ruler, mark the middle of the long side and draw a line across the width.


STEP TWO

Measure 5cm from the middle line towards one end of the paper and draw a line. Then measure 5cm from that line and draw another. You should end up with three lines at one end of your paper.

Along all three lines, make a mark every few centimetres. Try to stagger the marks on each line so they don’t line up in rows. These marks will be where you cut holes in the next step.


STEP THREE

You should now have a large sheet of paper with three marked lines. With your scissors, snip a hole at each mark that will be big enough to let your snow through.



STEP FOUR

Now take your sticks, and tape one at either end of the paper, rolling the paper around the stick and securing it in place with sellotape. You will end up with a sheet with the two sticks attached and if you hold the sticks up it should form a sort of sling.




STEP FIVE

Now it’s time to make your snow. To do this, you need to cut something up into tiny pieces. You could use white paper, a thin carrier bag, tissue paper or crush up polystyrene into beads. Whatever you choose, your ‘snowflakes’ will need to be smaller than the holes you have made in your paper.




STEP SIX

Once you have made enough snowflakes, place them into your paper sling. Pick the sling up by both sticks, holding the snow up at one end, away from the holes, by holding the stick nearest the holes higher than the other.



STEP SEVEN

Now, lift and lower the sticks one after the other to make the sling rock back and forth, which will release a flurry of snow.

It will make a mess, so ask a parent or guardian to give you a dustpan and brush to clear up the snow after you’ve had your snowstorm!

You could try experimenting with different types of snow to get the best effect. Try also turning out the lights and lighting the snow with a desk lamp or torch to see if this has any effect on the mood of your snowstorm. If you created a mini model in Week 1, you could see what your snowstorm looks like on stage!



What I have learned...

  • How to adapt materials to make a functioning machine DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

  • How to follow and comprehend instructions LITERACY

This activity is this week's ‘challenge of the week’, so don’t forget to take a picture or short video of your theatrical snowstorms, and share with us on social media – we would love to see what you’ve created! #kuuoliving

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