Friday, February 11, 2011

1st grade abstract cardboard sculpture

This is an annual favorite 1st grade project. I approach it exactly the same way each year, because it works so well. The only change I make year-to-year is how to paint them.

It's so easy; I hack up cardboard shipping boxes, and the kids use Elmer's Glue-All that they paint on with a pop stick. They need to count to 10 as they hold, each time they add a new piece. We spent 2 sessions building and 1 session painting. Some students (such as the bottom 2 photos) will need a second painting session to complete their sculpture.

11 comments:

  1. I love how they look painted. I am curious.... what did you change on how to have them paint? I have a lot of cardboard and want to give this a try!

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  2. Kristyn, it's mostly color choice. You can have them paint all one color, or whatever you want. I had them working starting with light colors to dark colors (to keep brushes and paints cleaner) and each color in at least 3 places before they picked the next color. We "wipe, wash, wipe" between colors. Sometimes I mix the colors w/a lot of white for pastels, sometimes all black, whatever you want!

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  3. LOVE these! I have been contemplating what to do with loads of cardboard and wanted to create sculptures with them in the style of Jean Dubuffet (we have one of his monumental sculptures in a park in Houston). Now I know how to construct them! Thanks Phyl!

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  4. Do you use these in conjunction with learning about a sculptor, or is it a stand alone project? Dubuffet is a great idea, but then I'd have to cut out rounded shapes. I am the lazy.

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  5. Melanie, no I didn't teach about a particulor sculptor, though it would also make sense to use David Smith perhaps, as he is from just a few miles down the road. If I lived closed, I'd love to take my students to see the Storm King outdoor sculpture museum, which is all large scale abstract pieces. Check out this video: http://www.stormking.org/

    We just discussed the meanings of the word "sculpture" and "abstract". My focus in the 1st grade right now is doing things that "real artists" do, so we drew portraits, we modeled for each other and drew the models, drew still life setups, etc, and now we are being sculptors!

    I DEFINITELY would NOT want to cut rounded shapes. I hack up the cardboard on an old workhorse paper cutter, and am cutting constantly to make enough shapes. They can go through a pile very quickly! Plus, the flat sides are very easy to glue; curved edges would add a new challenge too difficult for these kids I think.

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  6. I really like these! This would be perfect for my art club of 10 students as I don't know where I would store them for my "6-deep" classes. Thanks for the idea!
    I googled cardboard sculptures and found this, pretty cool!

    http://www.whatpossessedme.com/wpm/2009/01/favela.html

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  7. I've come up with a sculptor to link these with: Louise Nevelson. I'm gonna try this project out later this Spring and will let you know how they turn out!

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  8. THANK YOU for posting this lesson. I'm a first year art teacher and I wouldn't have been confident with this type of project for such young hands - but really they love it and were great at it!

    I posted pics at my new blog: http://scarymaryart.blogspot.com/

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  9. P.S. I showed images of Frank Lloyd Wright and Alexander Calder ;)

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  10. Do you think Kindergarteners could handle this???

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  11. Mrs. Kim, I think you could make it work with K's this time of year, but not early in the year. But you know your students best. The big thing is to remember to HOLD and COUNT. You might want to do it together. Keep it simple to avoid frustration.

    Also really really important is to use Elmer's Glue-All and no cheap imitations! It is super-strong. If you use Elmer's School Glue it will NOT hold. They are not the same glues and the students will be very frustrated if you use the school glue.

    Maybe you could simplify it for the k's by just spending one session building, and either: pre-painting the cardboard before cutting it up, or by spray painting them when done.

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