The Art Problem
Students extend learning about
the stages of metamorphosis in
butterflies by creating fanciful but-
Students will use two-dimensional
and three-dimensional paper con-
struction techniques to create an
effective, symmetrical mask.
9 x 12" ( 23 x 30 cm) assorted col-
ored construction paper, construc-
tion paper scraps, crayons, scissors,
glue, 2 x 18" ( 5 x 46 cm) poster
board or tag board strips, stapler
1. Read aloud and discuss Eric
Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Show and discuss examples of the
stages of metamorphosis in butter-
flies (caterpillar, chrysalis, adult).
2. Distribute supplies and show
students how to fold the paper in
half and draw half a butterfly. Have
them each draw a large circle for
the eye that touches the fold.
3. Guide students to cut out and
then open their masks. Encourage
them to add two-dimensional and
details using additional colors of
4. Use strips of board to measure
and staple on headbands so the
masks can be worn.
To what extent did students make
their masks symmetrical, add
numerous decorations and details,
and utilize two-dimensional and
By Nancy Walkup, an art
teacher at W.S. Ryan Elementary School in Denton, Texas.
GOT THE TIME? Middle School
The Art Problem
Design a clock that demonstrates
the element of shape, the principle
of repetition and good composition.
8" ( 20 cm) square Plexiglas, scrap
peel-and-stick vinyl, clock mecha-
nism. I obtained scrap Plexiglas
and vinyl from a sign shop. Clock
mechanisms were ordered from
an antique shop, and students
interested in doing the project pur-
chased them for a nominal charge.
Foam board can be substituted for
1. Students sketch out three differ-
ent plans and select the best one
for their clock.
2. Students cut out vinyl shapes and
stick them to the clock according to
3. Holes are drilled into the clock
and the mechanism is inserted.
Since this was a project for Art
Club, students were not formally
assessed. However, if done as a
class project, students should be
assessed on the quality of their
design and use of shape and repetition, artistry, and class participa-tion/effort.
By Mary Coy, an art teacher at
Spry Middle School in Webster,
New York, and a contributing
editor to SchoolArts.
SHARING MEMORIES THROUGH ART Elementary
The Art Problem
Artwork often provides a bridge
that helps viewers experience common bonds or shared memories.
Such is the artwork of American
assemblage artist Joseph Cornell.
Students will actively explore the
artwork of Joseph Cornell while
visually communicating personal
memories through symbols and
reflecting upon how artwork can
create social bonding.
Small box (one for each student),
small personal objects, scrap paper,
yarn, magazines, cardboard, poster
board, scissors, and glue.
1. Distribute postcards or show
images of Cornell’s assemblages
and ask students to identify the
objects Cornell uses to express his
memories or ideas, the memo-
ries or ideas that Cornell’s work
expresses, and the ways in which
these memories or ideas are similar
to their own.
2. Students bring an assortment of
objects from home that represent
a memory or idea that they would
like to share. Small, found objects
such as comic books, travel souvenirs, small toys, or old crayons will
3. Paint or cover small boxes.
4. Ask students to sort their
objects by category and then
plan how the objects should be
arranged within the container.
Encourage them to use cardboard
or poster board to make dividers
within the containers.
5. When a pleasing arrangement is
achieved, glue the objects into the
6. Place finished assemblages in a
central location. Ask students to
find those assemblages that seem
to express a common memory.
Arrange all of the boxes so that
similar memories are connected.
By Kim Lincoln, a pre-service art
education student at Northern
Arizona University, Flagstaff.
POPCORN DESIGNS High School
The Art Problem
Students will create a design using
popcorn. Each work should exhibit
an understanding of unity, visual
movement, and balance while
refining the technique of oil pastel
on colored paper.
1. Begin by popping popcorn. Ask
students to choose three to five
2. Provide a variety of paper. Dark
colors such as black, dark blue,
and violet work the best.
3. Students should draw three dif-
ferent thumbnail sketches using
the following guidelines:
a. Each thumbnail sketch should
have an odd number of popcorn
drawings in a variety of overlap-
ping sizes. They should fill at least
two-thirds of the space.
b. Students should incorporate
descriptive text of the object.
c. Students should include repeti-
tive patterns to create unity and
rhythm in the design.
d. Drawings should utilize good
design skills such as avoiding the
center, over- and under-lapping,
and going off of the edge of the
4. Review and help students decide
on their best overall composition.
5. Students select a color and
begin drawing. Students should
work from life and should depict
all light sources. They should use
light colors and showcase all highlights and shadows.
4. Ask students to choose colors
based on their knowledge of the
color wheel. Encourage them to
use colors that complement their
colored paper. This will create a
nice contrast and blend easily with
the white oil pastel.
Students should create a strong
composition that guides the eye
and incorporates the pattern and
text highlighted in their observa-
By Nicole Brisco, TAEA secondary division chair, contributing editor for SchoolArts, and
teacher at Pleasant Grove High
School in Texarkana, Texas.