SchoolArts Magazine

March 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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and literature from authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Even though students seemed to under- stand, I stressed that this style is a t hrowback to a science-fiction world related to the age of steam engines with some Victorian elements thrown in. This introduction gave students the idea of using available materials to assemble a new product. I asked them to limit their color pal - ettes to metallic and neutral shades. Examining Trinkets Next, I showed students photos of the steampunk bugs that the work- shop participants and I previously made. I also had my own steampunk specimen for them to see. Titled The Mechanical Honeybee, I created it out of wire, washers, decorative clock gears, and a nightlight bulb, all con- nected using hot glue. I loved the way Michele organized the materials in neat little dollar store plastic lidded quart containers, so I followed suit. Separating the junk and trinkets into containers helped the pur - suit of just-the-right-something to add t o these creations. Since our time was limited and my students were already enthusiastically examining and dig - ging through the boxes of junk on the d istribution table, I decided to forego the rest of my lecture and allowed them to start making their magic. Science and Technology For an integration of science, we talked about the parts of an insect (head, thorax, and abdomen). Since our art club only meets for a two-hour block after school, I provided a handout with illustrations of different types of insects using images I gathered from the internet. However, this would be a great place to add a tech component to the lesson, allowing students time to research the bug of their choice as well as research steampunk using prese - lected resources. Two of the resources M ichele Rodich suggested were Off Book: Steampunk, a mini-documen- tary by PBS Arts and a website called S teampunk for Kids. Engineering As part of the criteria for the project, students had to include six legs for an insect or eight for a spider that supported it enough to stand. Some - times this was a challenge because w hat looks "cool" may not be strong enough to hold up the weight of the other materials. So, this also provided more problem-solving opportunities as students learned the importance of placement. Also, even though the hot glue usually adhered the parts, stu - dents sometimes had to use wire to g ive their structure more support. Reflection As students finished up the last- minute touches on their steampunk bugs, I asked them how they thought this lesson could be extended. One student suggested adding mechanisms that allowed the creatures to actually light up or move. We discussed adding clock parts, music boxes, or battery lights to designs in the future. If time permitted, students made another creature using the same ran- dom materials. I asked them to title t heir creations on an index card and present their work to the class. I then made title cards, which were displayed with the Steampunk Bug Collection Materials • • Metal nuts, bolts, and washers • Scr • Small light bulbs • Copper, brass, or silver wire • Hot-glue guns and refills • Handouts with diagrams of insects • Laptop or iPad for researching • Wir e down to the copper), wire snips • Crimping tools • Scissors • Craft metal • • Metallic-colored permanent markers • distressed look) Steampunk is a fanciful approach to science that incorporates technolog and aesthetic designs inspired b 19th-centur steam machiner . in the middle-school art display case. The entire school could see what kind of multilevel learning "invasion" takes place even after school in the middle- school artroom. Melody Weintraub is a freelance artist and middle-school art teacher at Briar- crest Christian School in Eads, Tennessee. melodyweintraub @ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K Julia Cutchin, Metallic Moth.

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