Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sea Life Art Project (sculpture)

What would your students think if you were to turn your classroom (or a section of it) into a submarine portal looking out onto a vast array of sea life and extrordinary creatures?

I'm always amazed by students behaviour when I come to do this project. Students seem to get very engaged with this project and work very well despite possible past behavioural issues. The freedom to design their own unique sea creature seems to captivate them. I introduce this project by asking students what they would put into their aquarium if they had one. I then show them the large aquarium in the classroom (see photograph below) and explain how some of the students made previous sculptures. At this point they tend to get quite chatty saying I'm going to make.... or I once saw a........
I then show them my example sculpture to get students thinking about how they might make their sculpture (photos below from three different view points and in stages of design. I have purposely left this sculpture in different stages of completion to encourage students to examine and figure out how I have made the fish using only news paper and tape).

Next I give them a planning sheet with some different prompts as to help students think about specific design characteristics of their sculpture (see photos below for design sheets). After their design sheet is completed and checked by me, to simplify the making of the sculpture I have students draw out a 2-D outline of the sea creature/life they are going to build. It is important for me not to limit students imagination as to what they could create. I sometimes even start the unit of work with a cover lesson based on the artist Samuel Fallours who created extravegant creatures with bright and bold colours for a book that he eventually took back to Europe with wild stories (most made up) about these creatures. See my handout in my store for an example.

Next I'll have students start to build up the shape of the creature using newspaper wads and tape. At this stage I find some students start to struggle a little as they find it hard to design what they have conceptualised. Partner work tends to help at this stage in building.

Next I show the students how to build up their sculptures with tissue paper to create an outer shell or skin for their creature. I find it very helpful to discuss textures here and how students might be able to recreate the type of texture that they are looking for.

Finally, it is onto the painting stage. Spending a bit of time discussing and even pratising their painting skills will help the students to achieve a higher outcome. I try to take the time to discuss colour theory, painting techniques and creativity with colour.
All in all this is a good unit to get students exploring their own creativity and design skills. If you would like to have a peek at the power point and resources it can be found here:

I have included black and white drawing templates as well that I use to get students drawing and thinking about sea life before I begin the building of their sculptures.
I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions please drop me a post or email.


1 comment:

  1. Cool assignment! It's great that you have the student plan ahead before they build.