SchoolArts Magazine

March 2015

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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2-D Project Guidelines Students began this lesson by drawing accurate and detailed pencil render- ings of their chosen insects on 10" (25 cm) squares of watercolor paper. The initial sketching activity allowed stu- dents an opportunity to closely inves- tigate the tiniest details of an insect's anatomy. Students then selected one or more body parts of the insect and adapted them to design an object that could solve a human problem. The artroom soon buzzed with the electricity of inspired ideas ranging from turning a caterpillar's suction abilities into a state-of the-art vacuum Techniques for Designers from Sheet to Form by Paul Jackson is an excel- lent resource.) Students were quickly engaged in model-making as they real- ized how versatile a medium paper is for creating three- dimensional forms. Narratives In order for viewers to fully appreciate the process of this design challenge, students each wrote a detailed description of the completed artwork, explaining how specific body parts inspired the innovative design of their objects. Students thoroughly enjoyed seeing and reading how their cleaner, using the thorax of a grass- hopper to design a lounge chair, and creating a meditation lamp from the transparent wings of a glass-winged butterfly. My students were full of enthusiasm for Mother Nature's creations and how she solved survival prob- lems with beautiful and efficient forms. Students completed their drawings with colored pencil and found interesting solutions for contrasting backgrounds. For example, one student drew an insect as a graph- ite value drawing, using only color for the background. 3-D Model Guidelines The next step was to set the param- eters for the paper sculpture models of students' industrial designs. They were limited to using only the follow - ing supplies: white tag board, vellum, scissors, craft knives, rulers, pencils, double-sided adhesive tape, mechanical white tape, and clear acetate. Limiting the supplies students are allowed to use and keeping work monochromatic gives the work better form and focus. I gave a short demonstration explaining simple paper engineering techniques, such as paper tabs and folding methods. (The book Folding classmates' ideas were transformed. Thanks go to Jennifer Croson, head of the art department at Marymount School in New York City, for the design of this project. Leah Rubin is an art teacher at the Mary- mount School of New York. lrubin@ mary- mountnyc.org N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K biomimicry.org/what-is-biomimicry schoolartsonline.com 39 Students selected one or more body parts of an insect and adapted them to design an object that could solve a human problem.

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