Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Third Grade: Life Sized Animals

Posted on: April 5, 2010

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan         Third Grade: Measurement

Written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP /Whitman ES 2009-10

Life Sized Animals

Cost per student: $.10

Materials: Butcher paper, blocks or something to hold the paper down while kids work, color of some sort (we used water color and tempera paints, chalk pastels, and paper scrap collage on various pieces), brushes, cups, palettes etc depending on how you are coloring your art, measuring tapes, books with realistic depictions of animals, an animal encyclopedia (or you can do some web searching for dimensions once kids choose their animal), scissors, markers or pencils, paper for making a sign to go with the finished product.

Students will make a large collaborative art piece –measuring, drawing and coloring a life sized animal.

Elements of art: space, shape, line

Vocabulary: collaborate, life size

1. I read the students the book Actual Size by Steve Jenkins – each page has information on an animal, accompanied by an actual size illustration, for example, a giant squid’s eye, a gorilla’s hand, etc. We talked about how many animals are quite large and that we could use art to properly visualize that. I picked several kids to stand up and choose other students to be on their “art team”. I stressed that other than choosing the art team, no one kid was in charge of the group and that they would have to make decisions collaboratively.

2. Art teams (no more than 4 kids) looked through a variety of books and selected an animal they were interested in making into a life sized art piece. I vetoed anything too huge (blue whale) or too small to be interesting for this particular project (hamster). I looked up the animal’s dimensions in my animal encyclopedia and wrote it down for the kids.

3. The art team unrolled paper, used blocks to hold it down, and got out a measuring tape to measure out the animal’s dimensions. Kids worked to draw the outline of their animal, and some groups went over their lines with marker. At this point, I made a chart for each class showing the art team, their animal, and which step of the project they were currently on – drawing, coloring, cutting, and signage. Kids would check off steps as their team completed it, so they would know what they needed to do next.

4. I gave each team 2 choices of how to add color to their animal – this depended on how the kids on the team could be expected to be responsible with the art materials, how large of an area they had to cover, etc. They had to decide as a group and each team did well weighing the pros and cons and arriving at a decision.  After it either dried or got sprayed with fixative, kids cut out their animals.

5. The last step was making as sign that had the name of their animal, its size in the wild and the length and width of the animal the kids made, as well as the names of the artist that made it. The PE teacher was very gracious in allowing me to hang up all of the life size animals on the gym walls.

Note: This project took each 3rd grade class 3 one hour long art periods, and we used the empty cafeteria to work on our art since the projects were too big to work comfortably in the classrooms.


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