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Paper relief sculpture.

Mixed-media paper constructions provide a marvelous opportunity to integrate several art elements that have been studied previously. Well adapted for a first- to third-grade development level, this lesson addresses students' need to explore details in designs and discover that there is not always one right answer. Physically it helps children practice gluing several parts together and developing skills in three-dimensional work well within their strength limitations. Students also develop an awareness of pattern, detail and overlapping.

The basic objectives for the lesson are: recognizing, incorporating and discussing line directions. In the area of pattern, children will recognize and discuss random and ordered patterns and lines in artwork and in their environment. To demonstrate what they learned, they will produce patterns and lines in their artwork. To insure retention of the review material, I divide the lesson into four phases.

In phase one, the lesson starts with a review of the basic line types and an introduction to linear directions. To stimulate the students' perceptions, I instruct them to locate horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines in their environment. A variety of art prints are then used to see and describe how other artists use line in their art.

In phase two, I reintroduce the students to the concept of pattern and color via discussion and demonstration. This lesson begins with a review of random and ordered patterns and how to create them with lines, shapes and colors. I start by beginning a pattern on the chalkboard and pretending to be a computer. The students must give me the precise commands to get the desired result for the pattern. Next, I introduce the class to positive and negative shapes. They are instructed to locate positive and negative designs in their environment. We do a quick review of warm and cool colors by visualizing ourselves under a tree in a cool grassy park next to the ocean or in the burning desert without shade. The students easily remember the color groups in this way.

The students now begin the process of drawing lines and developing patterns with markers using two or three colors in the specified color group. To aid the students with their artwork, each class member receives a study sheet that contains the information they have learned and the steps for the project.

When they are ready for phase three, we discuss relief sculpture in relation to full-view sculpture. Using various art prints and student sculptures, the students easily grasp the concept. The students' understanding of sculpture, past and present, is enhanced by comparing Alexander Calder's Flamingo and Robert Rauschenberg's Coexistence. I demonstrate the transfer of the design from two dimensions into a relief sculpture by cutting an example into strips along the original lines. Then, using two pieces of 12" x 18" (30 x 46 cm) construction paper, I cut one piece of paper into horizontal strips and start gluing all strips to the remaining piece of construction paper to create a relief sculpture.

The students get excited about producing their relief sculptures. They enjoy using their problem-solving skills to produce a unique sculpture. Their creativity produces a wide range of exciting reliefs. The design twists, turns and loops around the other paper strips to create a new environment reminiscent of a great roller coaster.

Phase four is designed to aid in the development of the students' critical-thinking skills by walking them through the sculpture in their imagination. The students exchange sculptures to see another artist's concept of this project. The directions ask the students to imagine that they are ants and can crawl over, under and through the sculpture. The questioning continues by asking how they would explore the sculpture and how it would feel. Reinforcement of learning occurs by giving positive comments about the sculpture. Using appropriate art vocabulary, students locate the best random and ordered patterns. Students finish the lesson by stating what they like best about the sculpture.

This lesson can be easily adapted to various grade levels. My first-grade students discuss random and ordered patterns while third graders work with additive and subtractive methods of producing patterns. The third-grade students also develop their patterns by cutting areas out of their white drawing paper and gluing colored construction paper shapes on their papers between the horizontal lines. The discussion now turns to previously studied color concepts. The first-grade students review primary, secondary and neutral colors while the third graders use complementary colors.

This integrated lesson is a valuable tool to test students' understanding of previously taught concepts in an exciting and non-threatening manner.

Nancy Ann Hilker Fortran is the art teacher at Dalton Elementary School, Aurora, Colorado.
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Title Annotation:teaching paper sculpture techniques to elementary school students
Author:Fortran, Nancy Ann Hilker
Publication:School Arts
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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