I saw this done at a TAEA conference a few years back. It is a great way to explore sculpture and recycled art. As we begin we discuss artists Louise Nevelson and Mark Dion, as well as discussing possibilities for everyday items we use that aren’t easily recycled. This is a great lesson for upper elementary, middle school, and high school. For my 5th grade students I give them an inch-wide 14-16 inch long piece of poster board to uses as a folding strip. With older students, I would recommend using a half-inch wide strip. This helps them create uniform pieces to combine. They begin by placing their folding strips lengthwise along the paper (landscape style). I have the students folding, wrapping the paper around two times before the add a bead of glue. Then they continue to repeat folding and adding a bead of glue until it is complete. To build the base, students continue to create their folded strips and then when they have three or four of them, the begin creating the base of the bowl. I have students create the base 10-20 strips thick in order to give the bowl a substantial base. Then, the students continue the process, but instead of going directly around, they spiral the strips up to create the sides and edges of the bowl. The resulting bowl is rather beautiful. As an enrichment to the lesson, I have the advanced students create a color scheme for their bowl, or make the bowl transform into a vase.
What better way to engage your students in the art room that through the use of clay?!? Third grade studies and observes frogs and their metamorphosis from a tadpole into an adult frog. To reinforce their learning in science I thought it would be a great way to explore clay and sculpture in the art room. Students learn how to score, slip, and hand-build a clay from multiple pieces of clay. Students also learn about basic glazing techniques once their frog is fired in the kiln. To create the clay frog, students begin with a ball of clay, roughly the size of their fist. They then pinch it in half, setting one piece aside. They take the other half and roll it into a ball to create a basic pinch pot. This is to draw from their prior knowledge of clay from previous years in art, and create confidence/make them more comfortable with the medium. Students then take the other piece and pinch it in half again. Students create the “eye sockets” and eyes and attach them to the pinch pot. Then, students create coils and attach them to the sides for the legs and feet. I constantly remind them of the “Four S” rule – Score, Slip, Squish, and Smooth. Once they combine all the parts they check and make sure everything is attached securely and demonstrates craftsmanship. I write their names and their class label (ex. M3 for Monday, third grade) and then when they dry they are fired. Students then glaze their frogs and they are fired again. My students always come up with fantastic frogs!
What’s a great way to merge science connections into art? Plant life. In the early spring, my second grade students explore the characteristics of plants and flowers and the importance of photosynthesis. Students refine their manipulative skills as they create petals using brightly colored paper to create the petals. To kick it up a notch, students use gel markers to invent patterns onto their petals. I encourage the students to used analogous colors. Students then glue their petals in a radial fashion to the center of another piece of brightly colored construction paper. Next, student use orange or yellow paper to tear or cut and implement basic quilling techniques to curl and create the part of the flower integral for pollination. Students also add leaves by created a football shape and creasing the center. They glue three under the flower. Finally, student quill and curl the ends of the petals to create depth.