|Teaching suggestions for use with See for Yourself Sculpture:
The suggestions below are intended to be used before or after visiting the Saint Louis Art Museum and Laumeier Sculpture Park, or they can stand alone when used with the electronic program See for Yourself: Sculpture. The suggestions are written to be used in grades 5-8, but most can be adjusted up or down for all ages. Each activity has been cued to appropriate Missouri Assessment Program standards for performance and content.
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Use the activities below and images and information in the gallery section to improve students’ powers of observation, inductive and deductive reasoning, and research skills.
- Make a series of questions that can be answered by observation and reading. (ex. Which sculptures are made of wood?; which sculptures are more than 10 feet tall?) Once questions are answered, students can translate information into charts or graphs.
1.1, 2.4, FA2, M6
- Choose one work in the gallery and make a list of adjectives to describe it.
1.5, 1.6, CA1, FA3
- Divide into teams. Each team draws the name of one of the sculptures in the gallery from a hat. The team acts out the sculpture and other teams guess which sculpture is being represented.
1.5, 2.5, FA4, HPE4
- Ignore the titles of the sculptures. Invent a title for each sculpture based on what you can observe from the gallery.
1.6, 3.5, CA5, FA3
You Are the Viewer
Use the You Are the Viewer segments to introduce students to various elements of sculpture. Plan units of study by choosing one activity from each element below and assembling them into a multifaceted group of lessons.
The activities in the Scale section connect art and math and help students become more aware of how their own size relates to their interactions with the physical world.
- Make a list of things you see every day that are approximately the same height as the sculptures featured in this section.
1.2, 1.8, M2, FA3
- Look through magazines and newspapers to find pictures of a variety of different-sized objects. Cut them out and arrange them in ascending order of size.
2.4, 3.3, M2, M4
- Have students arrange themselves without talking according to size from shortest to tallest.
4.5, 4.6, M2, HPE1
- Imagine one of the sculptures as being drastically different in size than it actually is. Write a “Honey, I shrank the sculpture” or “Honey, I grew the sculpture” story or draw a picture.
2.4, 2.5, CA4, FA2
Activities in this section engage students in art making and physical activities that reinforce concepts of the role of symmetry and gravity in our lives as well as in making sculpture.
- Discuss why a sculptor would make a sculpture that moves. Research mobiles and kinetic sculptures and write a report on works of art that move.
1.1, 2.4 S2, CA4
- Use newspapers and magazines to find photos of people in poses that look balanced and unbalanced. Use the photos to do dynamic and static figure drawings.
1.2, 2.1, HPE4, FA1
- Divide the students into teams of five. Have each team make itself into a human machine that can move across the floor from point A to point B. The students must stay connected to each other and only touch the floor with seven feet, hands or… 3.3, 4.6, HPE1, HPE4
- Using scraps of wood or other materials, construct a sculpture without using any glue or tape. The materials must stay together through gravity and balance.
2.5, 3.3, FA2, S2
Activities in this section increase student awareness of shapes, both material and spatial, around them through observation and manipulation.
- Using a rope or string, create shapes on the playground or sidewalk by joining the ends of the rope. Trace the shapes with chalk to create a design. This can also be done on a smaller scale using string or yarn on paper. Fill in the shapes with color and/or designs.
1.6, 2.5, FA1, M2
- Cut shapes out of various colors of stiff paper. Fasten together to create a sculpture with interesting positive and negative shapes.
1.6, 3.3, S1, FA1
- Make a list of two-dimensional shapes and their three-dimensional counterparts (ie. Square and cube; circle and sphere). Take photos or cut out magazine or newspaper photos of buildings that use these shapes and forms. Create a presentation that explains how architects use shapes and forms to create buildings.
1.6, 1.8, M2, FA4
- Choose one of the sculptures and write a poetic description of it using the shape of the sculpture as the shape of the poem. (ie a poem about The Palm at the End of the Parking Lot would be shaped like a tree).
1.5, 2.1, FA4, CA4
The line section presents a variety of activities that allow students to experience and communicate their thoughts about the role played by line in three-dimensional works of art.
- Use toothpicks and glue to construct a sculpture made up of lines.
1.6, 2.5, FA1, M2
- Write a poem in which each line begins with “A line can be…” 1.6, 2.5, CA4, FA4
- Make a list of sculptures that best illustrate various kinds of lines—straight, wavy, thick, thin, etc. Draw each of the sculptures, exaggerating its line properties.
1.1, 1.6, FA1, M2
- Use wire to “draw” in space. Try to incorporate various kinds and thicknesses of lines in the sculpture/drawing.
1.2, 2.5, FA2, HPE4
Activities involving texture are designed to allow students to see the connection between texture as it occurs in nature and in man-made objects.
- Using a thesaurus as a guide, make a list of adjectives that describe texture. Find pictures that illustrate some of the words.
1.4, 2.1, FA3, CA1
- Make rubbings of textures in your environment using paper and crayons of various colors. Cut out shapes from the paper rubbings and create a texture collage.
1.6, 2.4, FA1, S1
- On a nature walk, collect items that have various kinds of texture. Use them to create a tactile box by gluing them to the outside or inside of a cardboard box like a shoe box.
1.3, 3.3, S1, FA1
- Collect examples of various textures (ie sandpaper, twigs, rocks, Styrofoam, textured paper). Place samples in a bag. Reach into the bag and without looking at the object describe it.
3.3, 4.1, CA6, S1
Sculptors at Work
Use the Sculptors at Work lessons to experience two works of art in depth. Students can learn about the creative process, how the sculptures were fabricated, and how they were installed in their present locations. These activities can be used before or after a visit to the sites, or they can stand alone when used in conjunction with See for Yourself: Sculpture.
- Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two artists. How are their backgrounds similar, how different? How is their work similar and different?
1.2, 4.8, SS6, FA5
- Use drawings and words to tell about how the artists created their sculptures. What was the first step, the second, etc?
1.6, 1.8, CA4, FA2
- Compare Placebo with a real tree. Compare Project for Laumeier with a building. Write a poem or essay based on your observations.
1.8, 2.4, S4, FA4
- After exploring Placebo, create your own tree by folding paper and cutting away the negative shapes, in a technique similar to cutting snowflakes. Mount the “tree” on a sheet of paper and use the negative shapes removed during the cutting to create a “negative” design on a similar sheet of paper.
1.3, 2.5, FA1, S3
- Discuss how branches grow and change in size. Then do a series of sketches of tree branches. Use the sketches to create a simple painting of branches that emphasizes positive and negative shapes.
1.3, 2.5, S3, FA1
- Use foil or wire and other materials to create a sculpture that represents a tree in one of the four seasons. Write a description of a tree in the season you have selected.
1.2, 2.1, S4, FA1
- Describe how Jackie Ferrara’s Project for Laumeier affects all the senses. Imagine how it would taste, smell, sound, etc. Perform a skit to demonstrate your findings.
2.5, 3.1, FA4, S3
- If cameras are available, work in teams to photograph a sculpture or other large three-dimensional object from several angles. Assemble the photos into a presentation that demonstrates the importance of space, line, balance, scale, and texture to the experience of sculpture.
2.1, 4.6, FA2, FA4
Visiting the Saint Louis Art Museum and Laumeier Sculpture Park
Visit the museum web sites for information bringing a class to visit. Links are on the home page of See for Yourself: Sculpture.
Thanks to the following teachers who assisted in reviewing the web site and helped write the teaching suggestions during the Summer Institute for Teachers 2005 at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Mary Alice Ferguson
Mary Ann Kerr
Linda Jo Payne-Hauf
Mary Elizabeth Tipton
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