On Carson’s first day of art classes with me, he came in knowing exactly what he wanted to make and a mental plan of what he would need to gather and assemble to make a train.

Carson: I kind of like building trains a lot. First I need circles and sticks to go through.

I showed him the bucket of wooden disks and the dowls, and then we dug through the wood bin together finding pieces of wood that would make good train cars.

Carson: Don't forget the engine! Hey this could be the engine!

Rachel: But that’s sandpaper! We have to use it to get all the slivers off the wood.

Carson went back to the bin of wood to find a different engine.

Carson: Hey! This could be the engine!
Rachel: Okay come show me how that would go.
Carson: I could use this one.
Rachel: Okay. Is that a good size?
Carson: Yes this way. It's going to go like this. This will be the engine.

He then went back to the wood bin and came back with some coloured popsicle sticks.

Carson: I got my decorations all different color. We can use these as couples. I got two blues.


There was a fair amount of instruction needed for Carson to build a train, and so I explained how to build a wheel axle with straw, a dowl, and two wooden disks. I also showed him how reinforcement on joints can make them stronger in our case the reinforcement was a bead. Carson had to dig through the bead bucket to find beads with the right sized hole.

Carson: We need two wheels. Actually four, two each side makes four.

Rachel: Okay let's test it out. Does it work?
Carson: Yes. You were right. I can roll it!

And he some fun rolling it across the studio floor, and discovering new things he hadn’t noticed before.

Carson: Hey there’s paint on the floor! And it's so so pretty! There’s even some under the carpet! What do you think of my train? It just when under the chair. It just went under the table. And it rolled on the top! Hey it’s climbing onto the ship. It rolled onto the ship! Hey look it just went into the wheel bucket. It’s in the wheel bucket! Hey and it's trying to get out of the garage door!


Rachel: Would you like to paint your train a color?
Carson: Yes. I’ll get some paint.

As he began to paint, Carson talked about the colours he was using, and absolutely loving mixing them together.

Carson: I would like the color pink for the top. All colors of the rainbow are my favorite colors. What do green and pink create?
Rachel: I don't know.
Carson: It's this dot right here.

Carson: Can the paints mix together?
Rachel: Yes. Of course.
Carson: Good. Do you know what green and pink and red make? Brown. They make Brown. They make light brown, I mean dark brown. That’s what they make.

And every single time he washed his paint brush, he enthusiastically approached it as a different experiment each time.

Carson: Do you know what green and brown make? Brown.
Do you know what blue and brown make? Brown!
Do you know what grey and brown make? Brown!

Carson: It's better to paint the sides first, you know. Because you can still touch the wheels. Why didn't you think of that?

Carson’s awareness of his method grew as he went. He was actively developing his understanding about colour mixing, and how to best approach the task of painting little train cars. He did five in total, so plenty of room for him to learn a good method.

Carson: I’m painting the bottom of the train. I just flip it over, and paint it. Grey. I have messy hands. And a messy paint brush. Aw silly axle! It got paint on it again. That’s what always happens. All the axles got paint on them.

Carson: I have toy train tracks at home.
M: Thomas?
Carson: No.
H: We have an electric.
Carson: I even have an electric train that’s a JET ENGINE.
H: So do we.
Carson: A toy jet engine. It moves by itself. It takes TWO batteries.
M: Ours goes backwards or forwards and it’s charged by electricity.
Carson: Our jet engine only goes forwards.

Rachel: You need to go get materials Carson, so you can start making a new train car.
Carson: These are materials.
Rachel: What about the axle? And you’ll need to cut the straws to the right length for the axels to go through.
Carson: It’s this long!
Rachel: Yah, you have to cut it the right length.
Carson: I can’t do it!
M: All it takes is a little courage.

Well, Carson did cut each straw to the perfect length. And found out he has what it takes! Tricky scissors and all!

Carson: They’re the right length.
Rachel: Good, You’ll need two that length. One more.
Carson: I can still cut this one! Awww. They just won’t cut. It just won’t work.
Rachel: Open up your scissors real wide, put the straw all the way back…
Carson: Got it!


M: I cannot paint the bottom of the boat, or as in ship language, is called the hull. I cannot paint the hull.


Rachel: What do these aliens eat?
H: Um, I don’t have any food aboard.

H tried to think of a few more details to add.

H: Ah a life raft!
M: You could use a lid.
H: Yah I am going to use a lid. Two life rafts! One for each alien. Detail. I got a life raft for each alien.