SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2013

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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Middle School Studio Lesson Hexagon explosion Boxes Christina Martin H ow do you inspire young people to get involved in the world around them? This was the question I wanted to address in my art class. As I was reading my March 2013 issue of SchoolArts magazine, I found just what I was looking for. I was inspired by a lesson by Beth Burkhauser entitled "Interdependence in Three Dimensions." Interdependence Day, which is held on September 12, focuses on rethinking priorities about the interdependent global society in which we live today. I thought this project would be ideal closed when it was assembled. for my middle-school art students. At Students used a brainstorming this age, they are just beginning to worksheet to begin the creative probecome aware of the cess. They gathered world. I wanted to images from home I wanted to relay the place emphasis on message that the actions as well as from how we could each copyright-free weband decisions we make on sites. They saved make a difference in an individual level can and these images to our own communido make a difference. ties. I also wanted their computers, to relay the mesusing care not to sage that the actions and decisions we choose images with low resolution. make on an individual level can and Four unique Adobe Photoshop temdo make a difference. plates were used, one for each layer and one for the lid. Students then The Hexagon Explosion Box worked on laying their images out in For this lesson, I chose to do a mixedPhotoshop. media project incorporating graphic design and bookmaking. I introduced Four Layers the project by explaining the InterdeThe outer layer of the hexagon was pendence Day Project and by showto represent each individual student. ing an example of the finished piece, This layer could include photos of which was composed of three layers of the student, his or her family, friends, card stock stacked inside each other to pets, or any image that told a story create the "hexagon explosion box." A about the individual. For this outside lid went on top to keep the whole box layer, we used a heavyweight metallic card stock. The lid was made of the same paper to achieve an aesthetically pleasing finished piece. The second feature was to include images that represent issues that interest each student. Examples of topics included animal rights, war, pollution, abuse, and bullying. Students took care to choose school-appropriate images. The third layer included images that represent things that could be done to address the concerns in the second layer. This innermost layer also included a central hexagon shape. Students could choose any image to put here as long as it fit with the theme. The layers nestled inside each other and were held together by glue or tape. The hexagon closed up to create a unique piece that, in some instances, created powerful feelings for each student. We concluded the project with an informal group critique. Students were very happy with the results and could not wait to share them with family and friends. Christina Martin teaches art at McKean Elementary School in McKean, Pennsylvania, and is a PAEA board member. Her cooperating teacher when she taught this lesson was Kris Fontes. NatioNal StaNdard Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas. Web liNk bit.ly/12m8qkU schoolartsonline.com 29

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