SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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T H E O P E N A R T R O O M A rt teachers love free materi- als, and I'm no exception. Cardboard is free and plenti- ful, which should make it a perfect medium. Unfortunately, card- board can be difficult to cut and hard to work with. This year I decided to invest in cardboard cutters, and it's made a huge difference. I selected a model with a dull tip, a sturdy handle, and serrated edges that cut through boxes with ease and accuracy. To teach my high-school students how to use these new tools to create self-directed work, I designed a four- part challenge with a small reward for the group that finishes first. Students work in groups to finish each of the less enjoyable for some learners. It's a good experience because there are lots of cardboard sculptors who create beautiful work with this construction method, and it helps students to under - stand the time such work requires. TASK 2: Form a Cube by Cutting Six Faces For this task, groups investigate con- necting edges at ninety-degree angles. I instruct students to reinforce pieces that meet at a corner for strength and encourage them to problem-solve other ways to add strength in their construction. TASK 3: Make a Cylinder by Bending This task focuses on bending cardboard by making cuts that go through only the first layer. Creating a cylinder pro- vides a great opportunity for students to e xperience how to transform this stiff, flat material into something round. TASK 4: Make a Rectangular Pyramid by Folding This task involves cutting and attach- ing individual pieces as done in Task 2, but this method is much more elegant. Groups must figure out how to create a template that can be folded into the required shape after cutting through the first layer of cardboard. It takes planning and precise measure- ment, but the results are worth it. Practical Knowledge Educational magic happens as students work in teams to respond to the chal- lenge. The motivation of a reward for finishing first results in focus and increased engagement, and groups plan with purpose. Tasks are divided and the content is discussed, resulting in deeper understanding for all. As the groups work through the four tasks, they develop a range of practical knowl - edge that will help them process the inspirational examples I'll show them next, making it easy for them to under- stand how the work of others is made a nd plan for their own art-making. Melissa Purtee is an art teacher at Apex High School in Apex, North Carolina, and co-author of The Open Art Room, available now from Davis Publications. By Melissa Purtee tasks I assign, using only cardboard, tape, cutters, and hot glue. TASK 1: Create a Sphere by Stacking In this task, each group needs to fig- ure out a way to cut and assemble concentric circles that increase in size inward from the outer edges, making a round form that is solid. This task requires the most cutting, which is Educational magic happens as students work in teams to respond to the four-part challenge. Facing the Challenges of Cardboard 14 NOVEMBER 2018 SchoolArts

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