I have used starch packing pnuts for projects before. Usually they are colored and go by the brand name Stik-its. For this project we used plain ol' packing pnuts.
At the beginning of the lesson we talked about symmetry in art and how it could occur in different directions in a shape or form. I drew a simple snowflake (vertical, horizontal, 2 diagonals) to model this on the whiteboard. I then told the classes that was what we would make today.
Huh? A snowflake? Cool. Um, okay... Were some of the student responses to this. I showed them how the pieces would stick together with a little water.
We all started out making the basic snowflake shape. After that I stressed that it was up to them to make their snowflake unique like snowflakes are. The could build up, out, across... I reminded them to focus on creating symmetry in whatever they made.
The students did a great job with the project. There was certainly a lot of variety in shape and form.
The fifth grade groups are the most social of my grades, and they did a fantastic job keeping things "chill" in the room as they built their pieces. I plan on selecting a number of them to display in the school office for the month of December.