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A cool combination: art and social studies.

Social studies, in most cases, is reading out of a book, doing homework and taking tests. Kids need something more - something enjoyable and educational at the same time. With Keystone, a student can learn and have fun at the same time. Keystone is a special program at our school where art and social studies are combined. The artwork goes with the culture being studied.

After we have researched a culture, the art teacher comes to our room and tells us about the art of the period. We are then shown the steps necessary in creating a piece of art that represents that culture.

My class has done two projects. The first was a drawing of Mesopotamian art. We each chose a picture from the Standard of Ur and drew it. We tried to use the same colors as the artists of Ur used at that time. I chose the king. First I drew it, then traced it onto salmon-colored paper. I outlined the figure with a brown watercolor marker. The outline was then smudged with a wet Q-Tip which caused the ink to bleed. The process made the king look like he was made of shell.

By dipping a sponge in blue paint and pressing it to the black paper, we created a mosaic background to look like the lapis lazuli on the original. We glued the drawing onto that, and we had it.

The second project was very enjoyable. It was Egyptian faces, not just any faces, our faces. We went down to the copy machine and Xeroxed our profiles. After researching Egyptian costumes, we each chose one. We then used that costume to dress our profiles in ancient Egyptian style. Color was added with watercolor paints. This project turned out nicely.

I've really enjoyed this program because it gives me a chance to have a good time in social studies. It gives kids a positive attitude about studying other cultures. This program is a great way to look into the past. It gives us the opportunity to see what art was like in the periods of time what we study. Keystone is great for kids of all ages. Schools throughout the nation should look into doing it for their students.
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Author:Levine, Ross M.
Publication:School Arts
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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