Elementary Studio Lesson
Fun & Functional
Barbara Downing Owen
This past year, in conjunction
with my school’s interest in
becoming more “green,” I collaborated with science teachers Lee Osterling and Jeny Randall
to research a source for inexpensive,
sturdy, reusable grocery bags.
The bags we found cost about
$250 per 200 (including shipping),
were made of a synthetic fiber, and
were 13½ x 12½ x 8½" ( 33. 75 x 31. 25
x 21. 25 cm), with good-sized handles.
We were grateful that our school
this pr oject.
Mimi Brown, grade one.
My plan was to have each grade
design a bag using a different design
concept and possibly different art
media. I talked with each grade about
the advantages of using reusable bags
rather than paper or plastic bags.
The first-grade theme was pattern.
I put out stamp-printing tools—
sponges, corks, spools, and cardboard
—and discussed the different kinds
of patterns that could be created with
them. We talked about “AAA” pat-
terns that could be created with one
tool, “ABABAB” patterns that
would use one too l in
alternating orient a-
tion or two tools taking turns. We
talked about combinations of tools,
for example, a smaller one printed
inside or on top of a larger one.
Second-graders were more familiar
with the stamp-printing tools and
techniques, so their challenge was to
create a symmetrical mandala design.
They remembered from an earlier
project that it is important to think
about the tool they choose for the
center print, then to build out from
that initial print by remembering to
think about north, south, east, and
west as they
Finn Mahoney, grade four.