The Art Problem
Students explore the nursery rhyme
“Humpty Dumpty” and create their
Students will show knowledge of
organic and geometric shapes and
be able to create a brick pattern
with vertical and horizontal lines.
They will create a Humpty Dumpty
character by dividing shapes in
half, repeating lines, and follow-
ing sequential directions. They will
explore the top, bottom and center
12 x 18"( 30 x 46 cm) background,
9 x 12" ( 23 x 30 cm) white paper
with pre-drawn oval shape, 2 x 12"
( 4 x 30 cm) gray paper, 6 x 12"
( 12 x 30 cm) brown paper, pre-cut
paper shoes, crayons, scissors, glue
1. Read “Humpty Dumpty.” Using
a step-by-step process, students
find the center of the oval and draw
two horizontal and parallel lines
2. Students create a buckle using a
small and large square at the center
of the belt.
3. After discussion, students cre-
ate two arms above the belt and
two legs (no feet) below the belt.
They create two eyes, a nose, and
a mouth. Using a square and a half
circle, they create a hat. Students
color the character, cut out, and
4. Students glue the brown paper
at the bottom of the blue paper
and the strip of grey paper above
it. Using crayon they create several
vertical and horizontal lines to cre-
ate a wall pattern. The class draws
organic cloud shapes with one color
and fill it in with another for the
sky. Students glue the body onto
the background paper and add pre-
cut shoes of any color.
Did the students follow directions?
Did they show knowledge of top,
bottom, organic, and geometric
shapes? Can they recite “Humpty
Dumpty” as a group?
By Marisa Main, an art teacher
in Huntington, West Virginia.
CUBIST SELF-PORTRAITS Middle School
The Art Problem
How do we approach portraiture as
a unified series of art elements and
Students will use organizational
structures in a portrait and decide
what makes them effective or not
effective in the communication of
colored pencils, assorted colors of
paper, scissors, glue
1. Introduce students to Cubism
and Cubist portraits, comparing
naturalistic portraiture from earlier
eras to this modern approach of
breaking down shapes and planes.
Review shape (organic vs. geomet-
ric), form (three-dimensional shape),
color, value, repetition, and unity.
2. Have students draw themselves
from a mirror. Emphasize the explo-
ration of geometric shapes within
the face and its planes, and within
the background. Have students
color their portraits. Ask them
to experiment with color theory,
including the use of warm, cool, or
complementary colors. Encourage
use of values and layers. Make sure
they fill the background with over-
3. Students cut their portraits into
long rectangular strips, squares,
or other geometric pieces, then
rearrange them back onto a clean
piece of colored paper. They should
experiment with interesting repeti-
tions or unifying overlaps.
In a group critique, ask the follow-
ing questions: Did students use
the art elements and design prin-
ciples effectively? Did they explore
abstraction rather than attempting
naturalism? Did they utilize the
face as an abstraction rather than
By Tracy Ellyn, an art teacher at
Miami Art and Design in Miami,
PUBLIC SCULPTURE AND OUR LIVES Elementary
The Art Problem
Public sculpture has a direct impact
on our daily environment and
attitude toward art. This art experi-
ence will explore how public sculp-
ture influences our lives.
Students will use additive clay pro-
cess for a public sculpture model
that uses organic and geometric
shapes to create positive and nega-
tive space within a work of art.
1. Introduce students to local
public art examples, comparing
the similarities and differences.
Observe how each sculpture is
balanced. What shapes are impor-
tant? Are shapes created within
the negative space?
2. Work with students to create a
sculpture that is structurally sound
and can hold its own weight. Start
by rolling out a slab of clay approx-
imately 3" thick. To create the
base, use a needle tool to make a
straightedge. The other side of the
cut piece can be organic or geo-
metric in shape.
3. Lay the flat side upright in
desired position, bending the clay
so it is freestanding.
4. Use remainder of slab to add
additional strips in various shapes.
Wads of paper towel or newspaper
can be used to help hold shape.
5. Embellish sculpture with other
geometric or organic shapes.
6. Fire and glaze.
1. Was positive and negative space
considered within the sculpture?
2. Have clay techniques been used
effectively to create a sculpture
that will stand on its own?
3. Is good artistry evident?
By Theresa McGee, an art
teacher at Monroe Elementary
in Hinsdale, Illinois.
VISUAL METAPHOR High School
Students will apply various symbols
to personal works of art.
tempera paint, heavy paper
Metaphors are words or phrases
that represent something else; symbols that make implicit comparisons
between ideas that are not always
readily associated with one another.
Metaphors are frequently found in
written works and in everyday language. Artists often communicate
with visual metaphors.
1. Make a list of descriptive words
such as sensitive, joyful, sturdy, deli-
cate, or ambiguous. What elements
of art and principles of design do
artists use to show these or other
ideas? For example, do delicate
lines and pastel colors metaphori-
cally convey sensitivity? Do well-
balanced sculptures convey a meta-
phorical sense of sturdiness?
2. Ask students to brainstorm a list
of events. What formal art properties can best be used to create a
3. Select one event, make a list of
symbols about the event, and create a visual metaphor.
By Joshua Wolff, a student
teacher at Coconino High School
in Flagstaff, Arizona.