The making of a mole

After reading the March 2015 issue I was inspired by Sharon Geyer’s article1 to try to knit a mole for my classroom. The resulting star-nosed mole creation has since been a fixture on the front bench of my room and is the recipient of many head pats. The Mole has been known to take rides balanced on students’ heads, offered as comfort to students who are not feeling well and loaned out as a study buddy to former students. The Mole has now started to acquire outfits to celebrate various holidays and events. Last semester the Mole supported Mental Health initiatives, proudly sported his Ally button for LGBTQ events in our school, and introduced new holidays to our English Language Learners. As Sharon Geyer explained in her article, the Mole is another way to make the chemistry classroom a memorable experience and in my opinion, a small way to showcase the inclusive atmosphere that we strive to build within our school.

Now I have started crocheting moles.2 It took me about
two hours to make this little mole (pictured left). I am not a superfast crocheter. The knit mole took longer; I am an even slower knitter. Although learning to crochet was initially hard, it is really simple once you get the hang of it. It was much easier to learn when I found a real person to teach me compared to using videos and books
. Plus my students who graduated last year gave me a book on crocheting hats, so I was highly motivated to learn so I had something to show them when they come back to visit.

Making these moles was a nice activity for relaxing and a fun challenge for my brain as I attempted new patterns. In fact, the Mole now has a bunch of friends like Rat, Chicken and Tree Frog, who visit with students during class. This leads to discussions of Mindfulness and Mental Health with my students. And as a bonus, I don't have to keep all my creations in my home!

Keep Calm and do Chemistry Crafts!

Knitted mole at the front of class:

Knitted mole at the front of class

[Editor’s note: Erica gave me this little guy (pictured below) at STAO 2016. I took a photo on the STAO program — if you look carefully you can see I was being watched. Thank you, Erica]

 Erica gave me this little guy (pictured above) at STAO 2016. I took a photo on the STAO program — if you look carefully you can see I was being watched.  Thank you, Erica]

Notes and reference

  1. Knitted mole: Find Sharon’s March 2015 article posted online on Chem 13 News magazine website under Supplemental materials or on Sharon’s Art of Teaching Science blog. The pattern used for the mole doorstop is by Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker —
  2. I did not have a particular pattern for the mini mole. It was a bit of a mash-up of patterns and self-creation. I use mostly free patterns I find online.