4th Graders realize that Math + Imagination = Art

The fourth graders have been combining some new art skills (sketching, planning, cutting, gluing, building, constructing) with some new math skills (geometry, three-dimensional forms) — then adding a bit of their own imaginations — to create some very original sculptures.

After being challenged to create five basic 3-D forms (cube, pyramid, cone, cylinder, and sphere) using only paper, scissors, pencil, tape, and glue (from a hot glue gun) during the first day of this unit, the students then were asked to think of what new sculpture — what object, person, animal, fictional character, etc — they would love to make for themselves.  After brainstorming, sketching ideas, drawing their proposed sculpture, and making a detailed plan of how to go about constructing it (complete with each type of three-dimensional form labeled), each student began building with paper, cardboard, found materials, and some random things found around the art studio.  The requirements for the students were to use a minimum of three different types of forms in one’s sculpture and that the sculpture could be a maximum of 30 centimeters in any direction.  Once the “skeleton” was constructed, students covered it with a “skin” of paper macho, and then finally painted the finished artwork to their satisfaction.

See the student artists busy at work below!

Third Grade confronts limitations and glue guns

The 3rd graders began the school year in art class by working in three-dimensions, learning to manipulate two-dimensional pieces of paper to create 3D sculptures independently and, next, working collaboratively to construct new sculptures — developed from a detailed plan, larger, made of a variety of materials, and containing personal symbolism to represent themselves and the Third Grade as a whole.

After a long break to work two dimensionally on developing original comic strips (see earlier Grade 3 post), the Third Graders are back working in three dimensions. But this time, rather than create a plan first and then deciding on the materials after, this time the students were presented with a limited type and amount of materials (primarily scrap wood pieces but also including — if they wished also to incorporate some or all — wire, string, fabric, paper, and paint). And in working with and playing with — and sometimes building, breaking apart, and reconstructing — these materials, the students created original sculptures in a different manner than previously. Some students chose to create realistic things (a restaurant, a boat, a video game), others made abstract sculptures, and some built highly imaginary, partly realistic, partly abstract creations.

See the young artists at work (below) and hear their critiques of their artworks on the Twitter feed to the right (look for the artists’ first names):

First Graders explore Life Cycles in three dimensions

In their homeroom classes the 1st graders focused on the central idea that all living things go through a process of change. The students studied a variety of living things, and then each child chose a particular one to focus on for his or her art project. After some discussion and review of a ‘life cycle’ in art class and then practicing drawing the chosen mammal (or insect or plant, etc), the students began to think about how they could communicate the concept of a life cycle — not only visually but also in three dimensions.

The children worked diligently to create multiple sculptures from plasticine so as to represent the beginning, middle, and end of their tiger’s or tree’s or penguin’s life cycles. Once their sculptures were completed — after being pushed to develop further their modeling and painting skills — the students then constructed three-dimensional dioramas from paper, pencil, pastels, markers (and words), creating environments for their artwork in which to present their new knowledge and skills. With the sculptures installed in the dioramas, the students were ready to present their projects to the other students, to teachers, and to parents at their Friday assembly performance.

Below, see the students at work on their sculptures and dioramas, see some of their finished projects, and see the display of their work at the Friday assembly.

5th Graders & the visual presentation of the PYP Exhibition

The 5th Graders have been working diligently for over 4 weeks in preparation for their culminating PYP unit, the Exhibition. Each student (having identified and chosen a particular passion) works to research, develop, express, and present some aspect of his/her passion to the school community.

Given the amount of time students spend researching and writing and organizing their ideas, they want to be sure to present their passions — to communicate them visually — in the best manner possible. So, in art class, the focus has been on visual presentation. How do artists and designer present information visually which clearly communicates an idea and which is appealing, compelling, and/or striking to the eye?

The students have been focused on three design principles, Contrast, Unity, and Balance, as guidelines. And they have been challenged to think creatively so as to develop their Exhibition presentations beyond a simple panel of text & images.

Here are the students at work on various stages of their presentations:

4th Graders complete their fictional campaign posters

The 4th graders have completed their fictional campaign posters — using assumed identities of a favorite character or animal or creature — focused on the centail idea that “the media can influence thinking and behavior.”

Focusing on a favorite movie, book, or comic character or on a real person or a pet, each student assumed a new identity and determined: What would I campaign for at this school — what would I want to change — to make my experience better at Y.I.S.? Having created sketches and plans for campaign posters (using images and text) to communicate their ideas to others and following a basic approach to design known as C.U.B. (Contrast, Unity, Balance), the students developed their projects. The visual arts aim is to have the students understand and know how to employ these three design principles so as to help to make for the effective visual presentation of their ideas.

Here are the results, the campaign posters created by these young graphic designers:

4th Graders progress with their fictional campaign posters

The 4th graders continue to create fictional campaign posters — using assumed identities of a favorite character or animal or creature — focused on the centail idea that “the media can influence thinking and behavior.”

Each student is assuming their new identity (who is also a student at Y.I.S.) and determining: What would I campaign for at this school — what would I want to change — to make my experience better at Y.I.S.? Having created sketches and plans for campaign posters (using images and text) to communicate their ideas to others and following a basic approach to design known as C.U.B. (Contrast, Unity, Balance), the students are now well into the creation of their final projects.  The visual arts aim is to have the students understand and know how to employ these three design principles so as to help to make for the effective visual presentation of their ideas.

Here are the young graphic designers at work, including samples of some of their concepts:

4th Graders begin a fictional campaign poster

The 4th graders created campaigns in their homeroom classes. The central idea was: “The media can influence thinking and behavior.” Now, in art class, each student is assuming a fictional identity (someone other than their actual selves; could be a real person, a book or movie character, a cartoon character, or a creature or animal) as the starting point of their new project.

Then each student attempts to see what it would be like to be a student at Y.I.S. as this fictional character and to determine: What would I campaign for at this school — what would I want to change — to make my experience better at Y.I.S.? Next, the students are challenged to create campaign posters to communicate their ideas to others, via images and text (pictures and words). The example presented by Mr. Reed is Bugs Bunny: if Bugs Bunny were a student at YIS, Mr. Reed thought, he would certainly want there to be more carrots in the cafeteria. And so Mr. Reed’s development of his campaign poster follows suit.

Students are being guided through a basic approach to design known as C.U.B. (Contrast, Unity, Balance) — focused on three design principles which help to make for the effective visual presentation of an idea.

See the students at work on the current stage of their projects here:

4th Grade continues constructing their Ainu-inspired garments

The 4th Graders have been working hard on turning their plans for individual, Ainu-inspired garments into reality.  Based on their sketchbook designs, the students have been using colored cloth, fabric pastels, and fabric paint on tan-colored muslin cloth to bring their symmetrical, abstract designs to life.  It has not been easy to translate small, colored pencil designs on paper to large, cloth patterns, but the students have persevered and hope to have their garments ready for their November 14th presentation — during which they will wear their garments during a performance celebrating the learning about the Ainu they have been doing thus far this year.

4th Grade begins constructing their Ainu-inspired garments

These symmetrical and abstract designs are inspired by the actual garments worn by the Ainu people of northern Japan.  Students have been looking at patterns and tessellations — specifically the artwork of M.C. Escher, a Dutch artist who was inspired in his cross-European travels to Southern (Moorish) Spain — and they are basing their designs on the various motifs used in Ainu culture and are also adding an original motif of each student’s own design.  The children are using their sketchbooks to plan their ideas and are now constructing the garments out of fabric.

Previously, the students began creating their own, personalized tessellations based on Escher’s artwork. The students saw various examples of the work Escher did before and after his cross-cultural journey, such as these. In beginning their own tessellations, the students watched this instructional video to learn a method of creating a patterns of unique interlocking shapes:

4th Graders are designing and creating Ainu-inspired garments

The 4th Graders have been focusing on the Ainu culture — as part of their Migration unit which is focused on the central idea that people continue to migrate for many reasons — and are preparing for a music and dance presentation in October.  In art class, the students have been looking at both patterns (specifically the unique tessellations of M. C. Escher) and at how artists are influenced by the art of other cultures (as Escher was in his travels to formerly-Moorish southern Spain).  In discussing and examining the motifs and designs of Ainu clothing, the 4th graders are now creating their own personal garment designs based on existing Ainu motifs and colors as well as on designs of their own creation.