Friday, May 27, 2016

Superhero Robot Design Challenge

 How can we make a positive difference in our world through design? 
Fifth graders set out to do just that: design and sculpt a “superhero robot” intended to solve a real world problem.

Students began by identifying the problem .... and developing a concept.
Varieties of materials were used to construct a prototype. Students held pieces together with masking tape and tacky glue while I manned the hot glue gun .  

When a sturdy robot was ready, designers took their sculptures out to spray paint. So exciting!  Some thing they learned: styrofoam melts when spray painted ....  another chance to turn a mistake into an opportunity! 
Next, it was time to design a logo. Kids identified famous logos and we discussed what makes them memorable. They set out to draw a few thumbnail sketches and developed their favorite into a logo design for the front of their robot.

The job of glue-gun-master and project manager allows for no photography time, but suffice it to say the the art studio hummed as designers added specific details, materials, and equipment. 

Robot sculpture complete?  √ Check

Students were then asked to do three more things: 
1.Write an artist statement in their art journal. 
       Write in first person, as if they were the robot, explaining its purpose.
2. Take a photo of their robot with an iPad. 
3. Upload their robot photograph into Chatter Pix iPad app. Read the artist statement into the microphone to produce a video of a talking robot.  

A big thank you to the kindhearted and supportive fifth grade teacher who made time to for the kids to complete the ChatterPix. 

Still with me here?  Finally, I uploaded the videos online. We finished JUST IN TIME for display at the Visual Arts Festival! 
Art show visitors scan QR codes to see the Superhero Robot videos. 
You can watch the Superhero Robot videos here.



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ugly Face Jugs

When visiting an art museum in Atlanta last summer, I came across a face jug.  
Many of them, actually.  Their stark expressions captured my attention and I just knew my kids would be intrigued. 
We watched an informative PBS History Detectives video , and after more research into these early 19th century folk art pieces, crafted by African American potters in the South, sixth graders embarked on their own version of these "Ugly Face Jugs".    While our art program includes three dimensional work at every grade level,  kids don't often have the opportunity to work with clay and so were introduced to clay construction techniques and skills such as working with slabs, slip and scoring. (We had just enough air dry clay to squeak through this project ....I was sweating it! )

Oh my gosh! The excitement, the focus, the concentration: an art teacher's dream come true.
Every minute of this lesson was rich with exploration, discovery, creativity, and a joy.  

Three eyes, each with a different expression. Two mouths. Picasso influence?