ALEX Learning Activity


Introduction to Glass Fusing

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: John Davis
System:Limestone County
School:Cedar Hill Elementary School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1824
Introduction to Glass Fusing
Digital Tool/Resource:
Introduction to Glass Fusing
Web Address – URL:

Students will learn that some art has a purpose other than being art. Many common everyday items can be considered art based on the manner in which they are designed. Students will make a glass dish, using previous instruction on design and learn the basics of glass fusing. During the lesson, students will also learn the need to practice safe working practices so as not to place themselves or others in danger. Lastly, students will learn about the transference of energy or heat in objects and how that energy can impact their final form.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
2 ) Plan and carry out investigations that explain transference of energy from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

a. Provide evidence that heat can be produced in many ways (e.g., rubbing hands together, burning leaves) and can move from one object to another by conduction.

b. Demonstrate that different objects can absorb, reflect, and/or conduct energy.

c. Demonstrate that electric circuits require a complete loop through which an electric current can pass.

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P4.11: Electricity flowing through an electrical circuit produces magnetic effects in the wires. In an electrical circuit containing a battery, a bulb, and a bell, energy from the battery is transferred to the bulb and the bell, which in turn transfer the energy to their surroundings as light, sound, and heat (thermal energy).

NAEP Statement::
P4.2: Objects vary in the extent to which they absorb and reflect light and conduct heat (thermal energy) and electricity.

NAEP Statement::
P4.7: Heat (thermal energy), electricity, light, and sound are forms of energy.§

NAEP Statement::
P4.8: Heat (thermal energy) results when substances burn, when certain kinds of materials rub against each other, and when electricity flows though wires. Metals are good conductors of heat (thermal energy) and electricity. Increasing the temperature of any substance requires the addition of energy.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Plan and carry out investigations that explain transference of energy from place to place by sound.
  • Plan and carry out investigations that explain transference of energy from place to place by light.
  • Plan and carry out investigations that explain transference of energy from place to place by heat.
  • Plan and carry out investigations that explain transference of energy from place to place by electric currents.
  • Provide evidence that heat can be produced in many ways.
  • Provide evidence that heat can move from one object to another by conduction.
  • Demonstrate that different objects can absorb energy.
  • Demonstrate that different objects can reflect energy.
  • Demonstrate that different objects can conduct energy.
  • Demonstrate that electric circuits require a complete loop for the electric current to pass through.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Construct
  • Transfer
  • Energy
  • Potential energy
  • Kinetic energy
  • Friction
  • Conduction
  • Absorb
  • Reflect
  • Circuit
  • Open circuit
  • Close circuit
  • Heat
  • Radiation
  • Convection
  • Collision
  • Motion
  • Electrical energy
  • Stored energy
Students know:
  • Energy is present whenever there are moving objects, sound, light, or heat.
  • The transfer of energy, including the following:
    • Collisions between objects.
    • Light traveling from one place to another.
    • Electric currents producing motion, sound, heat, or light.
    • Sound traveling from one place to another.
    • Heat passing from one object to another.
    • Motion, sound, heat, and light causing a different type of energy to be observed after an interaction.
  • Heat is produced in many ways.
  • Heat can move via conduction.
  • The properties of different objects cause them to be able to absorb, reflect, and/or conduct energy.
  • Electric currents pass through a circuit.
Students are able to:
  • Collaboratively plan and carry out an investigation that converts energy one form to another.
    • Identify the phenomenon.
    • Identify the evidence to address the purpose of the investigation.
    • Collect the data.
  • Construct an explanation using evidence about heat production.
  • Develop a model demonstrating that different objects can absorb, reflect, and/or conduct energy.
  • Develop a model demonstrating electric circuits.
Students understand that:
  • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
  • Heat energy can be produced in many ways.
  • The properties of objects, e.g. ability to absorb, reflect, or conduct energy, relate to their function.
  • Electric energy can be transferred through circuits.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Energy and Waves

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.2- Recognize different sources of heat; Identify materials that are conductors of heat, such as metals.

Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 4
Visual Arts
4) When making works of art, utilize and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Process Components: Investigate, Plan, Make
Essential Questions:
EU: Artists and designers balance experimentation and safety, freedom and responsibility while developing and creating artworks.
EQ: How do artists and designers care for and maintain materials, tools, and equipment? Why is it important for safety and health to understand and follow correct procedures in handling materials, tools, and equipment? What responsibilities come with the freedom to create?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Constructed environment
  • Cultural traditions
  • Digital format
  • Engagement
  • Tertiary color
  • Preservation
  • Proportion
  • Principles of design
    • Unity
  • Shade
  • Style
  • Tints & shades
Skill Examples:
  • Create a list of multiple ideas, sketches, or thumbnail-sketches before beginning the final version of an artwork.
  • Identify, select, and vary art materials, tools and processes to achieve desired results in their artwork.
  • Brainstorm (alone or with others) potential art styles for a given piece of art, such as Monet's Water Lilies.
  • Create an artwork from direct observation (still-life, self-portrait, figure drawing, etc.).
  • Design a two-dimensional drawings of a futuristic art room, town, or planet
  • Use wood, found objects, wire, paper, or clay-based materials to construct a three-dimensional form.
  • Locate business logos in the community and explore the visual arts skills and materials that were used to create these works.
  • Engage in group critiques of one's work and the work of others.
  • Experiment with art materials by using them in unusual and creative ways to express ideas and convey meaning.
  • Use and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.
  • Mix equal parts of a primary and a secondary color located beside each other on the color wheel to create a tertiary color.
  • Use the design principles of repetition and alignment to add visual unity to an artwork.
  • Create a painting using a monochromatic color scheme by using one color (red) adding white to create a tint (a lighter value--pink) and adding black to the color (red) to create a shade (darker value).
Learning Objectives:

Upon completion students should have gained the following information:

  1. Glass fusing is a process of fusing two or more pieces of glass together using heat to change the state of matter of the glass from a solid to a liquid and back to a solid using controlled cool down.
  2. Combing pieces of glass together and fusing them in the kiln we can produce objects that are not only pleasing to look at but also have meaning and purpose.
  3. When handling certain art-making materials, care should be taken to insure the safety of the student and those around them.
  4. Energy in the form of heat is generated in the electrical coils of a kiln.
  5. The energy created in the kiln is absorbed in the glass, changing the physical makeup of the glass.
  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

Students will produce a glass dish that has been made by fusing pieces of glass together. Once the glass is fused it will be fired a second time in a mold to give it the shape of a dish. The lesson is conducted in the following steps.

  1. Students will learn how a kiln works. Electricity passes through elements in a kiln creating heat from electrical energy. The controller of the kiln determines the rate of heat and the period of time the heat is produced. Then it controls the cool down in a manner that allows energy to be stored in an object such as glass without breaking it through excessive energy reduction.
  2. Next students will learn how glass fusing works by watching the digital resource, an Introduction To Glass Fusing. Once students have the concept of glass fusing we will begin our activity.
  3. Students will then learn about the dangers of cut glass. Glass is cut by scoring lines in the top of the glass and applying pressure to scored line. This allows a controlled release of the energy stored in the glass to break the glass in a manner that creates pieces that are useful. Handling the glass with extreme care will be emphasized to prevent incidents for an individual student or their classmates.  
    • Stress the importance of wearing goggles, using tools correctly, and following lab safety precautions. The instructor may cut pieces of glass ahead of time; students will not be required to do this. 

  4. Once the students understand the need for safety they will assemble pieces of glass to make a finished product. Students will be given a variety of one by four-inch pieces of colored glass that can be arranged to make a pattern. When the pattern is complete they will glue a solid piece of four by four-inch clear glass to the top. Lastly, they will add half inch pieces of colored glass squares to make a design on the top layer.
  5. Once these are complete the pieces will be transferred to the kiln where they will be full fused, which is a process that will melt all three layers into a single piece.
  6. Lastly, the pieces will be placed in a slightly curved glass mold and fired a second time. This firing will slump the glass to the mold giving it the shape of a dish.
Assessment Strategies:

Once the pieces are completed, students will write a short report, comparing their work with others regarding the differences that are made in the elements of design. They will also discuss the change in the appearance of the piece following the energy that was applied in the form of heat. Lastly, they will discuss, as a class, their individual experience with the glass and tools and how safe work practices allowed them to handle the glass in a manner that kept them safe.

Advanced Preparation:

In preparation for the activity, the instructor should assemble the following supplies:

  1. A collection of one by four-inch pieces of colored glass must be cut.
  2. Each student will need a four-by-four-inch piece of clear fusible glass.
  3. A collection of one half inch square chips will be needed for students to use to make surface decorations on the top.
  4. Chinet dinnerware paper plates for each student to work on.
  5. Elmer’s Clear glue for each student.
  6. Each student will need goggles and a review of lab safety precautions.
    *A kiln is required for this activity.*
Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
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