Transcending Commonplace Art Making Materials


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What can you do with just paper, scissors, and glue?

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Transcending Commonplace Art Making Materials

  1. 1. Transcending Commonplace Art Making Materials Nancy Walkup, nwalkup@netzero.netAs I am always looking for new ideas, especially for sculpture, to transcend the simplicity of the mostbasic art supplies available to most art teachers, I was excited to discover an approach new to me from adistrict in-service. Back in class, I changed the size and kind of paper and let my students experiment afterthey created the basic form. In this lesson, students use two-dimensional pieces of paper to constructthree-dimensional forms and then turn them into buildings or other structures of their choice.Second gradeBuilding on the CubeTo make the cube, each student needs twelve pieces of 2" x 4" construction paper. I provided anassortment of colors of precut papers to give students lots of choices.Fold each paper in half horizontally. Take four of the folded papers and arrange them with the cornersoverlapping and with the standing edges on the outside. The form will look like the lid of a box (with anopen square in the middle). Glue the four corners together, taking special care to overlap and fit thecorners exactly together. Take four more papers and made another "lid" just like the first one.Next, take four more folded papers and fit them into the four corners of one of the lids. The form will nowlook like an upside down table. Glue the pieces on the inside of the lid with the legs pointing straight up.Now the tricky part: The "table" should still be upside down, with the legs pointing up. Carefully lowerthe other lid down to fit over the legs. Holding it all in place, turn the cube over on the table. One side at atime, glues the last legs into place.After the first cubes were complete, we talked about the possibilities of what they could become and thenstudents were free to embellish them on their own. I provided scrap boxes of assorted papers and extrabuilding papers for those who wanted them. Some made bird houses, some made dog houses, some
  2. 2. combined theirs with a neighbors for a collaborative project, some made more than one and put themtogether. Embellishments included roofs, slides, ladders, chimneys, flowers, porches, and back yards.In the in-service I attended, tag board cut into wider and longer pieces was used with fifth graders and allthe structures were combined into one very large edifice, so you may want to consider that alternative. Itaught this lesson in two classes (one to make the first cubes and one to embellish them) to second andthird graders with no problem. And we met state-mandated objectives in both art and mathematics, whilehaving a great deal of fun.
  3. 3. Tetrahedron HeadsTake a 6" square of construction paper and fold it in half diagonally. Open it up and fold it diagonally inthe other direction. Open up the square and make a cut up one side to the middle. Overlap two sides tomake a tetrahedron. Glue the overlapping sides together. Make another form exactly the same way. Matchtwo long sides of the tetrahedrons and join them with a rectangular piece of construction paper. The edgesof the tetrahedrons should butt up against each other but not overlap. You have now created a mouth/headthat will open and shut.This can be made into a bird by the addition of legs, wings, feathers, and tails and embellished with realfeathers, paper scraps, and the like. Hang the birds with monofilament line. To make animals or othercreatures, add a body and other features. Encourage elaboration with any form.
  4. 4. Hidden in Plain Sight: Ecosystem DioramasObjectives:Students will: respond to works of art that depict ecosystems with beliefs about their meaning and value supported with persuasive reasoning. create an effective paper sculpture diorama that represents a particular ecosystem. appropriately include a camouflaged animal that would be found in the ecosystem depicted.TEKS, Art Perception. The student develops and organizes ideas from the environment. Creative Expression. The student expresses ideas through original artworks, using a variety of media with appropriate skills. Historical/Cultural heritage. The student demonstrates an understanding of art history and culture as records of human achievement. Response/Evaluation. The student makes informed judgments about personal artworks and the artworks of others.TEKS, Science(9) Science Concepts. The student knows that adaptations may increase the survival of members of aspecies. The student is expected to:(A) compare the characteristics of species that improve their ability to survive and reproduce in anecosystem.(B) analyze and describe adaptive characteristics that result in an organism’s unique niche in anecosystem; and(C) predict some adaptive characteristics required for survival and reproduction by an organism in anecosystem.Vocabulary ccosystem adaptation camouflage dioramaResources and Materials: reproductions of artworks that depict ecosystems (Crystal Take 5 Art Prints, Interdisciplinary Connections: Art and Science, Natural Environments, available from Crystal Productions,
  5. 5. pencils or crayons 9” x 9” or 12” x 12” squares of construction paper in assorted natural colors (green, white, brown, etc.) assorted sizes and colors of construction paper for details scissors glueMotivation:Display reproductions of artworks that depict ecosystems, drawing from various times and cultures, anddiscuss with students. Discuss the characteristics of ecosystems and how camouflage is an adaptation tohelp survival in ecosystems. Brainstorm a list of ecosystems and camouflaged animals found in them.Demonstrate procedures for making a three-dimensional diorama.Procedures:To make a diorama: Choose a habitat for the diorama and camouflaged animals that would be found there. Begin with a 9” or 12” square piece of colored construction paper. Fold it in half and then in half again (it will now have 4 sections). Open the paper and cut on one fold only to the center of the square. After making the cut, carefully overlap the two cut edges and fold the paper into a “box” (actually a corner of a box). Glue together the overlapping edges. Use construction paper to construct two- and three-dimensional figures and objects and glue them in the “box.” Fill in the area formed by the box with paper sculpture techniques (folding tabs so objects can stand, curling paper, going beyond the space of the box, overlapping shapes).Assessment/Evaluation:To what extent did students: respond to works of art that depict ecosystems with beliefs about their meaning and value supported with persuasive reasoning? create an effective paper sculpture diorama that represents a particular ecosystem? include a camouflaged animal that would appropriately be found in the ecosystem depicted?Extensions Have students write narratives to accompany their own artworks. A sticky note activity may serve as the opening activity. Give each table a print and a small stack of sticky notes. Ask them to work together to brainstorm vocabulary about the work and write the words on the sticky notes and place them around the image. Then ask students to write a narrative paragraph about the artwork they examined and the ecosystem they portrayed. Have students design rooms instead of natural environments.Fourth Grade
  6. 6. Dioramas Assessment RubricDiscussion of Student responds to Student responds to Student does notArtworks that Depict works of art with works of art with participate inEcosystems insightful comments some comments discussion or makes supported with supported with few or no comments. persuasive reasoning. reasoning.Ecosystem Student follows Student follows Student does not instructions well and instructions and works follow instructionsPaper Sculpture works well on project, towards finishing and makes little or no adding imaginative project with some effort on diorama.Diorama details. detail.Inclusion of Student includes Student includes Student makes littleAppropriate appropriate detailed, appropriate effort to includeCamouflaged Animal camouflaged animal camouflaged animal appropriate detailed, within diorama. within diorama. camouflaged animal within diorama.
  7. 7. Second gradePop Up ConstructionsObjectivesStudents will: compare and contrast pop-up books and cards. create an original pop-up face or creature.Materials 9" x 12" assorted colored construction paper, 2 per student assorted colors of scraps of construction paper scissors glueMotivationShow and discuss different styles and types of pop-ups. Demonstrate procedures. Discuss possiblesubjects for a pop-up face or creature.ProceduresFold 9 x 12 paper in half like a book. Cut a horizontal line starting at the middle on the fold about halfwayto the unfolded sides of the paper. Fold each cut back to make a 45 degree angle. Fold each cut theopposite way and then push out the "mouth."Fold the paper again and lightly draw half of a simple shape for a face or body around the "mouth." Cutout. Carefully glue the face on a folded background paper, gluing one side at a time. Add details withscraps of construction paper, oil pastels, or crayons.AssessmentTo what extent did students: compare and contrast pop-up books and cards? create an original pop-up face or creature?