Seventh Graders Experience Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony
Through their study of the history and culture of Japan, 7th grade students at Woodlawn learn how to study a culture. The country of Japan’s rich traditions, art, music, literature, belief systems and unique geography allow students to investigate many fascinating and important topics. This week the 7th graders participated in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony led by a tea master from The Japanese Association in Charlotte. She was accompanied by an interpreter who helped the students understand the details and procedures of the tea ceremony.
A traditional Japanese tea ceremony honors each of the guests attending, the changing seasons, and the beauty of nature. Our ceremony included drinking hot green tea (matcha) out of the students’ handcrafted tea bowls, enjoying sweet treats from Japan, as well as the company of our peers and guests. The criteria for their tea bowls was based on traditional Japanese shapes and styles, but the students added their own designs to make each bowl unique. Through this process, the students learned about the characteristics and potential of clay as a craft medium. They further investigated the physical properties of clay in science class as part of their study of chemistry, by weighing their bowls throughout the drying process and again after the bowls were fired in the kiln. The students then used Google Sheets to graph and analyze their collected data in math in order to determine the percentage of water that evaporated as their tea bowl transitioned from wet clay to bisqueware, and then finally to the finished tea bowl.