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All lesson plans © Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT
December 2007

Lesson plan is featured in the December 2007 issue of
Arts & Activities magazine.

Click here to download a PDF copy of this project

Grade 1: Photograms-Sun Prints

• Sun print photographic paper
• Found objects from home or nature
• Colored pencils or Prismacolor® Art Stix®
• Water vats
• Timer

Learning Objectives
First-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent of Antarctica.
• learn about how the sun can be used to make art.
• learn about the art of photography.
• learn about negative and positive space.

1. Students see examples of several different types of photographs and play a game called, “Where is this photo from?”
2. Students learn about how photographs are made. I team-taught this with our science teacher.
3. Students think about objects they would like to see printed onto their photographic paper.
4. Students bring in objects from home or found from nature to print.
5. Students go outside and place their objects into an interesting and creative composition on their photographic paper.
6. Students use a timer to “measure” the amount of time the objects must be exposed to light on the paper.
7. Students bring their paper back into the art room and place their paper into the water vats to stop the development process.
8. Once dry, students go back to their print and creatively color the positive and negative shapes using colored pencils or Prismacolor Art Stix.
9. Students then mat their work and hang it in the Antarctic installation!

At the end of this lesson, students have the opportunity to look through a 35mm camera lens to continue learning about the photographic process. Students can write poems about their completed pieces and these can be matted under their prints for an added treat!


Grade 2: Printed & Painted Reflections


• 9" x 12" white drawing paper
• Blue and white acrylic paint
• Black paint
• Paintbrushes
• Glitter

Learning Objectives
Second-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent of Antarctica.
• learn about different printing techniques.
• learn about art and nature, specifically landscapes.

1. Students see examples of different types of prints, specifically nature and landscapes.
2. Students write their name on the back of their paper.
3. Students fold their paper in half, horizontally.
4. Students quickly paint the top half (to the fold) of their paper using blue and white paint to create a tint, leaving a small circle to represent the moon.
5. Students quickly fold the bottom half up over the top and press firmly over the entire piece, thus creating a print of the top, onto the bottom.
6. Students open their paper up and “ooohhh” and “ahhhh” over the results! They have created the illusion of a reflection on water, complete with a moon in the sky!
7. Students paint a thin tree or two using lines and black paint, from the fold up.
8. Students once again quickly fold the bottom half up over the top and press firmly over the painted area, creating a print of the tree.
9. Again, students open up their paper and “ooohhh” and “ahhhhh” over the tree reflection they have created with this simple printing technique!
10. Students then add white paint dots using the opposite end of their paintbrush, to create the illusion of snow falling.
11. Finally, students sprinkle a touch of iridescent glitter onto the snow to give it that extra touch!

At the end of this lesson, students write a mini-story about this unique landscape they have made. Since this project is more about technique and less about creativity, the story allows each piece to become more personal and individual!


Grade 3: Clay Fish & Digital Camera Installations


• Clay
• Newspaper
• Plastic forks
• Spray bottles of water
• Glaze
• Paintbrushes
• Images of fish
• Construction paper
• Burlap
• Clay tools
• Moss
• Scissors
• Digital cameras
• Color printers
• Tissue paper

Learning Objectives
Third-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent of Antarctica.
• learn about different clay techniques.
• learn about fish and their environments.
• learn to create environmental “short-term” art.
• learn about photography.

1. Students learn about the art of the Antarctic waters, specifically the vast variety of fish and their environments.
2. Students look at several types of fish living in the cold seas of Antarctica.
3. Students receive a chunk of clay and a piece of cut burlap, and each table receives a handful of newspaper strips, plastic forks, clay tools and spray water bottles.
4. Students watch the teacher model how wedge the clay and then “tear” it to make two clay balls, and follow the example.
5. Students watch the teacher model how to make a simple pinch pot using their hands as their tools to “feel” and sculpt the clay. They will do this, making two pinch pots.
6. Students take a small piece of newspaper, fold it up and place it into one of the pinch pots. Several more small pieces of newspaper are placed into the pots and then the pot’s edges are scratched with the plastic forks and lightly sprayed with water. (The “scratch to attach” technique.)
7. Students then place their two pots together, leaving a small gap that will become the mouth of their fish.
8. Students watch as the teacher then pulls and pinches the clay to create the fins, tail, eyes, nose, etc.
9. Students create their own creative fish using these techniques. Then they can use their clay tools to add marks, textures, gills, etc.
10. Once these have been fired, students empty the fish of the fired newspaper. This can get messy so get your trash cans ready!
11. Students glaze their fired fish, making sure to leave the bottom unpainted. Explain that glaze is liquid glass, and when heated, will stick to the bottom of the kiln shelf.
12. During the next class period, students receive their glazed and completed fish. Working collaboratively as a table group, they create an underwater environment, creatively placing all of their fish with colored construction paper, moss, tissue paper and any other interesting materials on the table. 13. When the group is happy with the environment and setup, each student takes a digital image of their mini-installation!
14. These images are printed out and the group decides which image to hang in the school-wide Antarctica installation!

This three-day lesson is so successful! Students had a blast working with clay and then having the opportunity to build environments for their newly made animals. A fun extension is to get a large fish tank donated to the art room and creatively place the fish in the tank, adding gravel, fish tank foliage, etc. Another fun idea is to place the fish in your display case and have each class create an engaging environment on each shelf, seeing the different visions of your students!

Grade 4: Animal “Theme and Variation” Mural

• 6" x 6" white drawing paper squares
• Antarctic animal images
• Butcher paper
• Glue
• Variety of media (oil pastel, watercolor, pen and ink, colored pencils, Prismacolor® Art Stix®, markers, collage, pencil, crayon)

Learning Objectives
Fourth-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent of Antarctica and the animals found there.
• learn about a theme and variation lesson, using animals as the theme and art media to vary the theme.
• learn to put together a collaborative mural using individual artworks.

1. Students learn about animals found in Antarctica.
2. Students choose an animal found in Antarctica that interests them or best portrays their personality.
3. Students research that animal, finding out interesting information.
4. Students choose their favorite art medium to use, as they can only use one medium for their final piece.
5. Students draw their animal in an environment onto their drawing square, using one medium.
6. Students complete their square using only one medium, adding value with tints and shades.
7. Students glue their art onto a large paper, representing a mural.
8. Students work together to make sure the mural looks good, choosing what media looks best next to each other.
9. Students type out the names of their animals and print these out to add around the border of the mural.

Have the students’ art reproduced onto a quilt fabric square (we used Square 1 Art). Find a local quilting guild and invite them to come to the school and quilt the squares together, creating a class quilt. This can be donated to the school or to the school’s science department!

Grade 5: Photography Mural

• 35mm camera and film
• Nature or outdoor conditions
• Images of Ansel Adams’ work
• Images of Antarctic landscapes
• Glue
• Butcher paper

Learning Objectives
Fifth-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent of Antarctica and the beautiful landscape found there.
• learn about Ansel Adams and his black-and-white photography.
• learn about the art of photography.

1. Students learn about the Antarctic nature and landscapes.
2. Students learn about the art of photography, specifically the work of Ansel Adams.
3. Students draw images of landscapes into small fingernail sketches.
4. While students are working on this, four students at a time go outside and take a nature photograph using a 35mm camera. Each student will take one photo and they will only shoot natural images, zooming in, cropping or looking at distance. Many of my students had never looked through the lens of a camera before!
5. Students write down their name with their corresponding number on the camera photo register, so you know whose photo is whose.
6. Develop the photos in black and white or color. I did both and the students chose to have the color images placed onto the mural.
7. Students glue their printed photograph onto a large piece of butcher paper, representing a mural.
8. Students work together to make sure the mural looks good, choosing specific images to go next to each other.
9. Students label the mural using a computer and printing out the title, adhering it to the top of the completed piece.

Make a mural out of the color prints and the black and white prints for the students to “see” the difference.


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