SchoolArts Magazine

September 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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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 23 Imagining Out Loud I began the six-week unit by asking students to imagine and discuss a trip to somewhere fun, such as an amuse - ment park. I asked them to imagine what the trip would be like if they were in control of the destination and all aspects of it. I also asked students to think about how design and design - ers affect transportation, and we dis- cussed current and futuristic methods for getting to our destination. Starting with Vehicles Working with poster board, students designed, drew, and painted cars, planes, and trains. The finished vehi- cles had unique, personalized, and sometimes futuristic features. Stu- dents finished the lesson by posing for pictures in which they were "driving" their vehicles to the park. Adding Printmaking Next, students experimented and played with the idea of architecture and blueprints by creating their own prints using found and recycled card- board, paper tubes, cups, string, and straws as printmaking tools. They analyzed and discussed the work of contemporary architects such as Shigeru Ban and Thomas Heather- wick to help answer the question, how can designers, artists, and engi- neers improve living spaces? Creating an Amusement Park Ride The most anticipated lesson in this unit was making a model of an amusement park ride. I presented students the challenge of designing an entertaining ride that considered fun, safety, physics, and aesthetics. This open-ended challenge was the most rigorous that many students had ever faced. I provided air-dry modeling com - pound, cardboard bases, and an assortment of lollipop straws, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, string, and pom- poms. Students could use scissors, glue, and other connectors with these materials as they saw fit. If a project fell apart, they redesigned it to make it work. Teacher assistance was minimal. Along with my co-teacher, I asked questions, made suggestions, and showed students where materials were. We watched students give each other leftover materials to help fortify leaning or falling designs. Students also created elaborate sto - ries and names for their new rides and clearly pictured the small model becoming a real-life attraction. Communication Design Students finished the unit by either creating an advertisement for their park or making a map of it. Both tasks guided students to continue enhancing their parks and intro - duced them to some basics of graphic design. They used pencils and mark - ers after viewing both old and cur- rent maps and advertisements of local and famous parks. With this focus on communication design, stu - dents could make decisions on what their park should be named, how it should look, and what images and text would best appeal to their poten - tial visitors. Finally, all the com- ponents of the parks were brought together for display. The most fun we had was allowing students to work with their ideas, imagine new technologies, and design exciting takes on existing concepts. I wonder how long it will be before we visit one of these parks and take a ride on a water roller coaster shaped like a caterpillar that turns into a swing set. Geena R. Teodecki is a K–1 art teacher at Collegium Charter School in Exton, Pennsylvania. geenateodecki@ gmail. com, gteodecki@ 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 Students designed and engineered an imaginar world that included transportation, lodging, advertising, cuisine, and exciting theme-park entertainment and rides.

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